Call to invest in midwives


NO woman should die while giving birth: Government has declared.
However, the lives of women giving birth at Parirenyatwa Hospital are in danger given the ongoing nurses’ strike over night duty allowances.
Harare Hospital last week issued out a statement stating that the hospital would not accept referrals from other hospitals or poly clinics, pregnant women included.
This has resulted in all patients being referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital resulting in it being overwhelmed by the increasing numbers.
Due to the increased numbers relying on the limited facilities, it is worrying to note that some women are said to be allegedly giving birth on the floor and hallways.
Their lives and that of the unborn children are at risk.
The depressing circumstances under which some pregnant women in the capital find themselves ironically coincide with the International Day for the Midwife which is commemorated on May 5.
This year’s theme was ‘Midwives: for a better tomorrow’.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted that this is a special year to highlight the role of midwives in progress towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Four and Five on improving newborn and maternal health.
The MDGs come to an end in September.
According to the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) there is need to highlight the importance of having midwives in the attainment of MDGs Four and Five.
“This is why we have chosen the theme: Midwives: for a better tomorrow,” read the statement.
“This slogan clearly states that midwives have to be involved in the work to achieve the new set of goals called the Sustainable Development Goals and create a brighter future for mothers, babies, and families.
“The overarching theme: ‘The World Needs Midwives Now More Than Ever’ will accompany the subtheme of the year 2015.
“This is the last chance to shine a spotlight on midwifery before the world enters into a new era.”
The country will, however, hold its commemorations in June.
Midwives play a critical role in the birthing process and given the status quo some women have to help themselves give birth.
According to the WHO, 83 percent of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and newborn deaths could be averted with the full package of midwifery care.
There is need for midwifery personnel to be trained to international standards.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives president, Lillian Dodzo called on Government to continue to cushion and improve the standards of operations for midwives.
“We call on Government and stakeholders to continue investing in midwives including putting in place a retention strategy and making sure that midwives are adequately resourced to carry out their duties,” she said.
The health sector has not been spared from the effects of the economic challenges that were faced by the country in the last decade.
This has resulted in massive brain drain, as qualified nurses and doctors left the country for greener pastures.
As the country joined the world in commemorating the International Day for Midwives, Dodzo applauded Government for its efforts to improve on the welfare and working conditions of the midwives.
“In recent years, the Government and its partners have made remarkable efforts to increase the number of practising midwives through equipping midwifery training schools and increasing intake of students,” Dodzo said.
With concerted efforts from all stakeholders, the situation pregnant women in the capital are facing can surely be averted.


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