By CHUSA SICHONE -
GOVERNMENT has started the direct entry of midwives aimed at increasing the number of midwives in the country.
Health Deputy Minister Chitalu Chilufya, who disclosed this in an interview, also said that the Ministry of Health had been granted authority by the Treasury to recruit more midwives this year to be deployed to various health facilities in the country.
Dr Chilufya said human resource development, which is among the National Health Policy pillars, was Government’s priority so as to populate all health facilities countrywide with skilled manpower to offer delivery services.
“This is why we have even introduced direct midwifery entry programmes where instead of starting to do nursing then you work, and then you go and become a midwife later on; we have a direct entry midwife.
“So we are churning out direct entry midwives, we are training more midwives and we are opening more midwifery schools,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said Mansa General Hospital would be the latest institution to open a midwifery school this year.
Dr Chilufya cited inadequate qualified manpower or lack of such skilled personnel as one of the causes of maternal mortality, despite the expectant mothers living near health facilities.
To accelerate the prevention of preventable maternal deaths, Government, he said, was building more health infrastructure closer to where pregnant mothers lived, equipping them with the necessary drugs and tools besides training the relevant human resource.
“Our position as the Patriotic Front Government under His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu is that no woman should die while giving birth. Pregnancy is a physiological stage, it’s not a disease and no woman must die while giving birth.
“And so, this Government is investing heavily in reproductive health services to ensure that no woman dies while giving birth,” Dr Chilufya said.
Dr Chilufya said despite the country not achieving the Millennium Development Goal on maternal mortality, it had recorded significant progress as maternal mortality had reduced from 595 per 100, 000 to 398 per 100,000 but that more needed to be done to reduce it further.