‘Start of Bachelor in Midwifery programme a milestone’The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has hailed the government-launched Bachelor in Midwifery programme, saying the start of the pgoramme in Nepal is an important milestone towards improving maternal and newborn health in the country.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has hailed the government-launched Bachelor in Midwifery programme, saying the start of the pgoramme in Nepal is an important milestone towards improving maternal and newborn health in the country.
The Government launched the Bachelor in Midwifery program on January 5.
“We commend the National Academy of Medical Sciences and Kathmandu University for starting the Bachelor in Midwifery courses,” a press statement quoted UNFPA Country Representative to Nepal Giulia Vallese as saying. “Midwives are key to reducing maternal mortality. Recognising their importance in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality as well as morbidities contributes to making every pregnancy wanted and every birth safe.”
Stating that well-trained midwives together with a recruitment, deployment and retention plan could help avert roughly two thirds of all maternal and newborn deaths, the UN agency said: “They could also deliver up to 87 percent of all essential
sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health services.”
Midwives are one of the most cost-effective and culturally sensitive path to achieving universal health care, if practised in an enabling environment and supported by regulations.
Nepal has made tremendous progress in reducing maternal mortality rate from 901 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 258 in 2015, according to the Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter-Agency Group comprising the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank.
However, many women continue to die while giving births, either at home without access to skilled birth attendance or in health facilities providing sub-standard obstetric care. In addition, inequity in access and utilisation of health care services also has resulted in significant disparities in health conditions across different geographical areas, ethnic groups and educational and wealth status.
“The quality of maternal newborn health services available at health institutions needs to continue to be strengthened,” said the UN agency.
UNFPA, which has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and other partners in advancing midwifery education since 2009, added that it also welcomes the active role the Nepal Nursing Council has played in mainstreaming midwifery agenda. “We hope that the government will soon prepare a recruitment, deployment, retention and career plan for the future midwives so that when they graduate they can quickly be deployed for service. UNFPA stands ready to support the government further in strengthening midwifery,” said Vallese.