Unravelling the depths of maternal mental health: a journey of collecting data from healthcare providers and nurse educators in Zambia

The importance of this call

Maternal mental health is a topic that requires sensitivity, awareness and specialised care and this research is at the forefront of addressing an important but frequently disregarded component of nurse education and health care in Zambia.  To understand the educational needs and challenges faced by healthcare providers in addressing maternal mental health problems, gathering data from health providers and nurse educators is of great importance. Let us delve into the experiences and lessons learnt by the Mulungushi University (MU) team while gathering data from healthcare providers and nurse educators.

Building Rapport

The journey commenced with the pivotal step of building rapport with healthcare workers in the clinical areas and nurse educators. To break artificial barriers that exist between nurse educators, clinicians and managers in training nursing students, the MU team brought on board a nurse manager from the District Health Office (DHO) and another from the Provincial Health Office (PHO) in Central province. The managers worked with the MU nurse educators in collecting data from clinicians.

Establishing trust and fostering open communication.

As a data collection team, ethical issues were taken into consideration before the data were finally collected. Taking the time to actively listen to participants and showing genuine care about what they do helped create a favourable atmosphere for gathering data. In addition, the group also established a secure, boundary-respecting space for expression, which was essential to making sure that participants felt heard and valued throughout the entire process.

Managing Sensitive Terrain:

A lot of participants talked about very touching situations, which highlighted how serious the problem of inadequate competency in maternal mental health is. What came to light is that maintaining professionalism was at times a very sensitive terrain when handling delicate narratives. The power of shared experience.

Moments of deep connection and mutual understanding emerged as the experience’s cornerstone, demonstrating the power of shared experiences. The participants conveyed their appreciation for the chance to participate in the study. Most of them stated that the experience will improve the way they look at maternal mental health and thus, they would enrol when the post graduate diploma program in Maternal Mental Health is introduced. Seeing their enthusiasm and commitment served as a powerful reminder of our shared goal of enhancing the well-being of mothers.

Gained insights

The process of gathering data provided priceless insights on the complexities of maternal mental health and the state of healthcare and nursing education in Zambia. Every narrative added to our knowledge of the gaps in health care provision and nursing education. A good number of nurse educators and healthcare providers indicated that maternal mental health was non-existent in the current nursing curriculum in Zambia; hence the struggle by qualified nurses to manage mothers with perinatal mental health problems. The gained insights, will shape educational improvements in perinatal mental health and strengthen health professionals’ maternal mental health competences, which will in turn improve the quality of care provided to mothers.

In conclusion, collecting data from clinical healthcare providers and nurse educators proved to be very significant and enabled us to have a deeper understanding of challenges faced.  The voices and experiences of these valuable professionals remain indispensable in the pursuit of comprehensive maternal well-being.

Written by

Jamia Milanzi

4 Responses

  1. A very important write up. Maternal Health is indeed everyone’s responsibility. Looking at maternal mental health is very cardinal and will help alot of women hence will have a healthy society.

  2. Great write up Jamia. Mental health is indeed very important to our women as they are usually stressed. Well done buddy.

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