Building Skills and Teamwork for Safe, Dignified Maternity Care in Zanzibar

In May 2023, WAJAMAMA, Zanzibar’s first holistic maternal health clinic, and the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) launched a newly renovated Simulation Lab on the SUZA campus, signaling an important step toward centering respectful maternity care and building concrete nursing and midwifery skills.

Amber Weiseth (Ariadne Labs) and Grace Qorro (Laerdal Global Health) set up a Nursing Anne mannequin in the simulation lab

These partners, in collaboration with Ariadne Labs’ Delivery Decisions Initiative, Laerdal Global Health, and Georgetown University, refinished the entire space and equipped it with the latest simulation equipment, including the country’s second Nursing Anne mannequin. With this equipment, nursing and midwifery students will be better equipped to practice and build confidence in the critical skills needed for patient care before applying them in a clinical setting.

The launch, which was attended by Honorable Minister of Health Nassor Ahmed Mazrui and other high-ranking government, SUZA, and nonprofit officials, comes as part of a larger effort to address the rise in maternal and infant mortality rates present in Zanzibar. These rates have been fueled, in part, by a shortage of qualified nurses. The government has taken measures to improve health care infrastructure in the archipelago through the construction of ten new hospitals; however, these facilities will need to be filled with high-quality nurses and midwives to be most effective at addressing the harrowing maternal and child health statistics. A key aim of this partnership is to improve educational opportunities for nursing and midwifery students in Zanzibar to address the gap.

Prior to the launch, Laerdal Global Health hosted SimBegin training for faculty, staff, and students at SUZA. This introductory training course teaches users how to effectively plan, conduct, and debrief effective simulation scenarios. With training complete, educational modules will now be rolled out to nursing students to strengthen their psychomotor skills, prepare them to respond to obstetric emergencies, and share best practices for teamwork and communication. 

“We’re excited to be a part of this work to help nursing students enter the workforce feeling more confident in their skills,” said Amber Weiseth, DNP, MSN, RN, Director of the Delivery Decisions Initiative. “We look forward to taking this work further and seeing its impact on driving safe, respectful maternity care for all people giving birth in Zanzibar.”

WAJAMAMA has produced videos sharing more detail about the project and footage from the launch event.

Midwifery students at the State University of Zanzibar set up simulation equipment.
Members of the Ariadne Labs and Laerdal Global Health teams. From L to R: Lindsey Renner; Tyler Fox; Dorice Twende; Grace Qorro; Emelia Weiseth; Steve Osumba; Amber Weiseth