Monday, May 5, 2008

The Importance of Midwives in Nepal

Achieving the MDG on universal access to reproductive health care and to improve maternal health do not require fancy hospitals and high-tech equipments. It can be done locally by utilizing local knowledge and manpower. The UNFPA has recommended the Nepali government to increase investment in training and retaining midwives where they are needed the most. Midwives are especially useful in rural areas, where health posts are either a distant dream or even if there is one, there are no staffs and medicines. And, it is cost-effective and speedier to implement.

When they are properly trained, empowered and supported, midwives offer the most cost-effective and high-quality path to maternal and newborn health, the statement said. Midwives provide care for women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. In case of pregnancy complications and emergencies, midwives perform key life-saving functions. They offer reproductive health information and services, including family planning, which allows women to space their next birth, the statement added.

The statement said that there is an urgent need for 334,000 midwives around the world. And midwives need incentives to continue to work, often under difficult conditions, to save women's lives.

There are only a few dozens of midwives in Nepal. According to the Ministry of Health and Population, the country needs 4,000 to 6,000 trained midwives to minimize maternal and child mortality.