KARACHI, Pakistan: Thousands of women and newborns in Pakistan die each year as a result of preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Pakistan’s maternal mortality ratio at 276 per 100,000 live births (2006-2007 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey) is one of the highest in South Asia. Most of these deaths can be prevented if there were enough properly trained, competent and supported midwives working in the communities and in a functional health system.
The Midwifery Association of Pakistan (MAP) along with event partners Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery (AKU-SONAM) celebrated the International Day of Midwife (IDM) on 15 June 2013.
The conference highlighted the importance of midwives in the community, challenges faced by practicing midwives and efforts undertaken by development partners in improving midwifery education and practice in Pakistan.
Held at the AKU auditorium, the session’s audience included of over 250 midwives, doctors, obstetricians, social scientists, midwifery tutors, MAP members, representatives of MNCH Directorate and the National Committee on Maternal and Newborn Health (NCMNH).
Representatives of various international organizations including United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), MCHIP, AKU-SONAM and UNICEF shared their contributions to the development of Midwifery in Pakistan.
Ms. Kiran Nauman, Chief Health Sectors Reforms Unit, Sindh, presided over the event. She reviewed the progress on the maternal and neonatal health in the province with particular reference to future of midwifery.
“There is historical evidence that competent, authorized and supported midwives are the front line soldiers in protecting mothers from avoidable deaths due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth”, Ms. Imtiaz Kamal, President of the Midwifery Association of Pakistan.
Challenges faced by midwives in Pakistan begin at midwifery schools where there are limited qualified midwifery tutors and clinical instructors, few opportunities for hands-on clinical practice, and gaps in quality of midwifery education and a low social image of midwives in the community. A lot needs to be done before midwives can benefit from competency-based training, improved status and recognition as a professional midwife, and a defined career ladder.