The Zambia Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians [ZAGO] and Midwives Association of Zambia [MAZ] ordinarily have a unique and common mandate to save lives of women and newborns. The two organisations are fraternal in their structure, form and perform rather uniform functions. ZAGO for instance, is a professional body that represents doctors specialized in Maternal and Newborn health, while MAZ is equally a professional organisation representing Registered Nurse Midwives [RN/M], Enrolled Nurse-Midwives [EN/M] as well as Certified Midwives [CM].
Both organisations have voluntary membership from both public and private health sectors, with a common agenda of saving lives of women and newborns.
Additionally, their membership invariably interacts at different levels: a MAZ member is free to join or become a ZAGO member. This professional interaction is crucial in exchanging knowledge, ideas and best practices – all in the best interest of women and newborns.
Over the years, although ZAGO and MAZ have shared this very unique professionally cordial relationship, they had been operating independently. This, has created a semblance of a gap in critical areas where the presence of the two associations is critically needed.
It is against this backdrop that ZAGO and MAZ sat down to re-evaluate their strategy in quest to save better women and newborns. On June 18th 2021, a Consolidated Strategic Joint Action (CSJA) dumbed, MAZAGO CONSORTIUM was borne at a meeting held at ZAGO Secretariat where the two organisations entered into partnership that will see them engage in joint projects and activity execution.
“The aim of this meeting is to improve collaboration between ourselves as ‘custodians’ of maternal and newborn health in the country,” says ZAGO President, Dr Swebby Macha at the opening of the joint executive meeting. While his counterpart, MAZ President, Dr Sara Ngoma affirms, “We need to work together and not working as parallel entities.”
The two associations shared some of the projects and activities they are implementing and deliberated on ways to jointly collaborate. Apart from sharing the current projects, the two executives further shared future plans. To achieve this, two committees were formed, namely, Concept Paper, and Business Committees. The Concept Paper committee is responsible for writing joint project proposals while the Business Committee looks at the overall business framework the two organisations would be jointly undertaking.
“This is a profound step in the right direction, says, Dr Swebby Macha. “Our ability to work as unit will undoubtedly take our fraternal organisations to the next level. This, is all in the best interest of women and newborn health. Together, without slightest doubt, we shall reduce maternal mortality and improve the health of our women and newborns.” Consolidating the progress, the two executives met again on December 17, 2022 to discuss modalities of actualizing deliverables agreed in the June meeting. MAZ and ZAGO further discussed among other things, setting up another committee – a business arm which would see the two organisations jointly provide consultancy services. Members and chairpersons of all the three committees were elected. This development is not only fundamental to the visibility of the two societies, but also important to their sustainability.