Moot on Midwifery & Safe Motherhood -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Moot on Midwifery & Safe Motherhood

KARACHI – The National Committee for Maternal Health and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is celebrating the International Day of the Midwife by holding a seminar on Midwifery and SafeMotherhood.

Dr. Saeeda Malik, Minister for Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education, Government of Sindh will be the chief guest.

The National Committee for Maternal Health (NCMH) in the past has conducted a series of seminars on Safe Motherhood for doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, media personnel and councillors.

In Pakistan, a gap has been identified which is the extreme shortage of skilled birth attendants, particularly trained and licenced midwives.

The number of mothers dying in Pakistan due to pregnancy and childbirth related causes is one of the highest in the world. The reasons are many. Some of them are economic and some are related to non-accessibility of properly equipped health services both in the public and the private sector. The major cause, however, is the absence of qualified and competent midwives with the mother at the time of childbirth in the homes.

Pregnancy and childbirth are normal physiological functions of a woman. Yet certain complications can occur at any time and without any warning. Formal education and training is required by a person to recognise these and act accordingly, so as to make childbirth as safe as possible.

In Pakistan, 80 per cent of the babies are born at home out of which 95 per cent are delivered by untrained dais and traditional birth attendants. A few of them have had some minimal formal training whilst a large majority are self taught.

Due to our cultural norms and resources, majority of babies will continue to be born at home. It is neither necessary nor possible for every pregnancy and birth to be managed by a doctor, or every baby to be delivered in a hospital. The goal is that “every mother has a healthy child and every child has a healthy mother at the end of each pregnancy.”

Therefore, the need is for a well trained and legally registered healthcare provider to care for the mother throughout the maternity cycle i.e. from the time the mother conceives till six weeks after the baby is born.

A registered Community Midwife who is a specialist in normal pregnancy and childbirth can provide this care. She is trained to recognise possible and actual complications and seek medical help at the earliest sign of danger to the mother and / or the baby.

In Pakistan, the profession of Midwifery has not received due attention. Unfortunately people and even most of the doctors in Pakistan do not know the difference between a properly trained and licenced midwife and a Dai and traditional birth attendant. In the last few years fortunately things are changing.

In the meeting speakers will be addressing this issue. Among these are the Minister for Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education, Government of Sindh, LTNFPA, representatives of the National Committee for Materal Health and healthcare providers, particularly midwives.
Source: The Nation
Date:6/9/2004