As Nigeria marks this year’s International Day of the Midwives and the first inaugural International Midwifery Conference in Abuja, experts, stakeholders and the international community have attributed the prevalence of maternal and newborn deaths particularly in the rural areas of the country to shortage of skilled midwives.
Experts at the conference on Thursday also blamed neglect of trained midwives and lack of interest of young girls in the profession to the prevalence of mortality in reproductive health sector.
President of Nurses and Midwives Association of Nigeria, Mrs. Margaret Akinsola in a presentation titled ‘Women and Newborn the Heart of Midwifery,’ said that midwives provide care to women during pregnancy, birth and post-partum period and beyond.
She said that they also provide primary care relationship to reproductive health, including annual gynaecological examination, family planning, but still Nigeria has the second highest pregnancy related deaths in the world.
“Every day about 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth,” she decried.
According to Akinsola, midwives are crucial to reducing maternal and neonatal mortality, and in that they are positioned to provide respectful, high quality care that places women and newborns in the centre.
Dr. Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, a professor of Midwifery from the United States of America, regretted that the world recorded 2.6 million stillbirths out of which Nigeria had the second highest number, which is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
Bent emphasised that it was the right of every woman around the world to have access to a midwife, adding that the role of midwives was not just physical but psychological, and “they should listen to women and monitor them.”
Resident Representative of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, Ratidaz Ndlova noted that teachers in midwifery schools were ageing and on the verge of retirement while the trained ones prefer to work in the cities.
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Source:: Nigerian Pilot