As Sierra Leone joins the world community on Monday, 5th May to celebrate International Day of the Midwife, the Chief Nursing Officer, has stated that the country needs 35, 000 Midwives in the health sector to aid child birth and maternal care in the country.
She made this statement at a ceremony at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) on Fourah Bay Road in Freetown, to mark the International Day of the Midwife.
Madam Husianatu Kanu said the day is set aside in recognition of the significant role midwives are playing to save the lives of the world’s women and their babies. She observed that over 340,000 women die each year during child birth, and many more suffer from various child birth-related infections.
The Chief Nursing Officer pointed out that new born babies and their mothers need adequate attention and noted that more needs to be done if the country is to achieve MDGs 4,5, and 6. She said declared that the country needs more midwives to address the issue of maternal and child mortality in the country. She acknowledged government’s efforts in that regard, but stated that more needs to be done and called on development partners to augment their support in that area.
She commended civil society for their active role in mobilizing support for need for an increase in the number of midwives. She also commended the UNFPA for haven trained over 250 midwives from the Freetown and Makeni Midwifery Schools.
Madam Kanu, concluded that celebrating the Day is another way to further create awareness for more human and financial supports for additional midwives, and appealed to the existing ones to be more dedicated to their service to the nation and their patients.
Making a statement, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Representative in Sierra Leone, Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, said no woman should die or lose her baby or suffer injury such as fistula in the process of giving life, and that Midwives are key partners in the process.
Dr. Ndyanabangi , disclosed that 2000 Women die every year giving life, which means almost 180 women die giving life every month, while six women die every day and one woman loses her life every four hours in Sierra Leone during child delivery. He maintained that Midwives, working in hospitals and health centers around the country are making huge differences in ensuring the safe delivery of women thereby reducing the rate of maternal and child mortality in the country. She maintained that Midwives have contributed considerably in saving the lives of thousands of women and children in the last couple of years.
The UNFPA representative on behalf of his organization celebrated the nearly 350 National Midwives for their contributions towards saving the lives and mothers and their babies in Sierra Leone.
On behalf of UNFPA, Dr. Ndyanabangi pledged to continue to support midwives and midwifery in Sierra Leone, as they work towards the goal of ensuring that no woman dies whilst giving birth.
In a detailed power point presentation, the President, Sierra Leone Midwives Association Dr. Joan Shepherd presented the Association’s activities over the years in all the Districts. She also disclosed some of the efforts the Association has made to establish International cooperation with the Dutch midwives Association.
Dr. Shepherd appealed to midwives to continue the good work in the country and to up-date their skills and knowledge in their business to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the country.
As the ceremony progressed at the hospital grounds, four babies were born, three females and a male who received gifts from the Government, through the UNFPA Representative who gave names to the first female and male newborns.
Goodwill messages were made by other sister associations and organizations with interest healthcare service delivery in the country.
By Ade Campbell
Thursday May 08, 2014