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Second Year students Anet Ajuong (Nursing), Dhal Dhal (Nursing), Peter Tako (Midwifery), Michael Jal (Nursing) and Santino Deng (Midwifery), outside the Catholic Health Training Institute in South Sudan. The students are among 141 health professionals that the Institute plans to graduate between now and 2021. Photo: Nyokabi Kahura.

Across many countries in the Global South, health outcomes are unacceptably low, and the persistence of inequalities in health status presents a significant challenge. In 2018, the 71st World Health Assembly recognised the need for health system reform if international targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved.

Misean Cara members are contributing to the six universally-accepted, inter-dependent, building blocks in a strong health system: service delivery; the health system workforce; information; medical products, vaccines and technologies; financing; and leadership and governance.

Misean Cara members implement projects on service delivery; on building strong health information systems; on supporting the development of health related policies, strategies and plans at national level through the sharing of monthly data; and on advocating for the review of national legislation in relation to access to medicines.

Investment in the health workforce is a critical contribution to strengthening any health system. Across the areas of prevention, care and treatment, Misean Cara members train and build the capacity of people in a variety of roles, including community health workers, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, nurses and midwives.

Misean Cara is supporting three members with the training of nurses, midwives and nurse technicians. In Kaduna state in Nigeria, the Sisters of St. Louis have educated 151 health professionals to graduate level, and all have entered into full time employment in the health service. In Wau, South Sudan, the Faithful Companions of Jesus have been working with the Catholic Health Training Institute since 2011 to develop local capacity in the National Health Service. Under its current three-year plan, the Institute aims to produce 141 nurses and midwives by 2021. In Mzuzu, Malawi, Saint Patrick’s Missionary Society, in partnership with St John’s Institute for Health, are working to improve the quality of health services to rural communities through the upgrading of nursing and midwifery technicians to registered nurses/midwives. By the project’s end, St. John’s Institute will have educated and deployed 140 nurses or midwives to rural health centres.