’Midwives Are Half-Baked’ Says Shikwambi

THE Independent Midwives Association of Namibia (Imana) has called on the government to send students for aanced midwifery training in South Africa for a year.

The voluntary midwives association which was registered with the Health Professions Council of Namibia in September last year as a continuous professional development body has about 20 members.

Hileni Shikwambi, one of the senior members of the association, said government used to send midwives for aanced training in South Africa for a year but this was discontinued without a clear reason.

She said the association is drafting a proposal to the health ministry for the resumption of this programme so that midwives can assist in cases of complicated births.

“We want midwives trained to global standards. Organisations like the World Health Organisation and International Corporation of Midwives have identified and set up a curriculum for midwifery training. This is different from what we do, and this is where we see the gap because we are half-baked. If you have properly trained midwives, they can solve 87% of all complications because the main problem is skills,” said Shikwambi.

She said in Namibia, midwifery is a completely different thing from nursing and nurses only possess the general knowledge of the discipline.

“It’s like coming out of a home economics class and being expected to run a tailoring business just from that little knowledge. It is a similar scenario. Nurses learn not just the basics but have a limited amount of information about midwifery, ” said Imana acting vice chairperson Beatrix Callard.

She said it is important to create awareness about midwifery because people do not understand the profession.

According to Callard, young people often abandon the profession because the salary is not attractive and the working hours are long.

Shikwambi pointed out that the number of maternal deaths is increasing and midwives are needed now more than ever.

“It is midwives who witness these deaths of mothers. For the past years one cannot say these deaths have decreased and with the UN Millennium Development Goals, these deaths remain one of the key focus areas. We now have doctors doing the job of midwives, because we do not have enough well-trained midwives,” said Shikwambi.

Chief executive officer of the Health Professions Council of Namibia Cornelius Weyulu, said there are 10 099 registered and enrolled nurses who are also midwives including male midwives known as accoucheures.

Source : The Namibian