Quality Midwifery Reduces Maternal, Newborn Deaths, Stillbirth Rate by Over 80% ……as Kaduna Set to Train Midwives on Use of Pregnancy Scanner

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

Kaduna State government has concluded plans to commence training of Midwives on how to use pregnancy scanner that will be provided in all healthcare facilities across the state.

The state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Paul Dogo, who made the disclosure on Monday, during a press conference to commemorate the ‘World Midwifery Day’ said the reason is to build more trust and confidence between health workers and pregnant women.

He noted that quality midwifery reduces maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirth rate by over 80% and reduces pre-term labor and birth by 24%.

This according to him is indeed not surprising because, “midwives can deliver 81% of all essential sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health services. Midwives provides counselling services and can perform cervical and Breast cancer screening.

“Midwives also improves breast feeding ratio and psycho-social outcomes, midwives can provide culturally sensitive care that is more likely to have
a lasting impact.”

Dr. Dogo said the 2019 International Day of Midwives with the theme “Midwivės: Defenders of Women’s rights”, has come at right time, a time when every nation is
making reproductive health a right for every woman, when women are
encouraged to have full control over their body and health.

“Midwives have major roles to play in defending women’s right in view of their already existing roles in providing information and counselling especially as they help women access family planning services.

“Supporting prevention female genital mutilations, assisting and supporting survivors of gender-based violence and providing reproductive health services to adolescent who are often denied access to those services at great cost to their health and right.” He added.

The commissioner noted that despite the importance of the above roles of the midwives in various aspects of reproductive health, the question is why is maternal and child health indices still very poor in Nigeria?

“Generally speaking, there is shortage of Human resources for health especially the Skilled birth Attendants i.e. doctors, nurses and midwives in the country. The doctors:population ratio is still low (30 per 100,000 population), similarly the nurses and midwives: population ratio is 100 and 68 per 100,000 population respectively.

“This gross inadequacy coupled with
maldistribution and continuous brain drain were implicated as the reasons for the poor maternal and child indices in Nigeria in general and the North In particular. The maternal mortality in the far North (NE & NW) ranges from 800-
1,400/100,000 livebirths.” He explained.

He however said the federal government and the Kaduna state government are working tirelessly to change the tide, staying, “the State has adapted and started implementing the Human
resources for health Policy, Task shifting and Task sharing policy, Universal Health Coverage to mention a few.

“I am glad to inform you that in 2017 the
administration of M. Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufa’l recruited 1400 health personnel to
fill in the existing gap in secondary health care facilities. The state has also given approval for recruitment of 3,058 frontline health workers as a way of ensuring optimal function of primary health care facilities. The preparation for the recruitment is on-going.

“The low production of Human Resources for health was also recognised as another factor for shortage, this administration has therefore expanded the State’s Colleges of Nurses and Midwifery which are currently merged and having three campuses at Kafanchan, Kaduna and Pambegua.

“This is a long-term plan to gradually fill-in the HRH gap in the State. Meanwhile the implementation of Task shifting and Task sharing policy, in which lower cadre of Health workers like Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) share the task of midwives serves as an interim measure.”

International Midwives day, is a day set aside by United Nation to increase awareness about the contribution of the midwives towards the health of their various nations all over the world. A day in which midwives are recognised and honoured for their immense contributions towards women’s and children’s health.

The commissioner had earlier visited Kawo General Hospital where midwives organized a reachout awareness campaign for women attending Ante Natal Care, in company of Mariama Darboe, Programme Coordinator and Head of Office UNFPA Northern Nigeria.

Mrs. Darboe, charged the midwives not to relent in their efforts at ensuring they give quality life to women, saying, “midwives are people with big heart that help fulfill the right to health and to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

“For a woman to fulfill this basic human right—she must be able to control her fertility and have access to good reproductive healthcare and accurate information. Midwives help women to execute these rights.”

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