Thirty-six countries in sub-Saharan Africa have severe shortages of health workers. At least 2.3 trained health care providers are needed per 1,000 people to provide 80 percent of the population with skilled care at birth and child immunisation coverage. Nurses and midwives are on the frontline of health services in Africa. Ensuring that they are provided with the necessary competencies to work and function properly is key in reducing the alarmingly high maternal and mortality rates in Africa. Phase one of the project has been implemented in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania. Phase one focused on establishing advanced training programmes in establish advanced training programmes in community health nursing, maternal and child health, psychiatric/mental health nursing and critical care and trauma nursing. Tailor-made curricula were followed to suit each countries' specific needs. Lessons learned from the first phase will be used to build on the programme, which will be extended to other African countries. Phase two of the project will be implemented in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in three countries.