By Aderogba George
Mr Faruk Abubakar, the Secretary General/Registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), has reiterated the council’s commitment toward having healthy mothers and babies in the country.
He made the pledge during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday on the occasion of the 2023 International Day of the Midwife.
The day is annually celebrated on May 5 to celebrate midwives’ commitment to saving lives and ensuring the health and wellbeing of women and newborn babies.
The 2023 edition has “Together Again: From Evidence to Reality” as its theme.
The NMCN registrar, therefore, stressed the importance of the day’s celebration, saying
“it is all about having healthy mothers and babies who can compete favourably for the growth of the nation.”
According to him, the more healthy mothers and babies a country can have, the more confidence there will be in the society.
He said that a nation with healthy mothers and infants would enable less or zero incidences of diseases, and that would allow mothers and women generally to be productive and contribute their quota to nation building.
Abubakar, who disclosed that there is no formal collaboration between Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) and trained midwives in the country, however, said NMCN had been training midwives to replace the TBAs.
He said “this is why we introduced community midwives to work in rural areas’ there is no any collaboration, but rather if we train them and they are available, that is better.
”That is why we are encouraging political leaders to support this crusade, identify a community, train him or her, and send such a person back to that community to contribute his or her quota.
“The council trained 6,700 nurses in the last six years and 21,700 nurses and midwives within that period of time
“This idea will surely replace the traditional birth attendants, that is what we are focusing on, and that is our strategy as a council.”
The registrar also said that Nigeria can achieve zero maternal mortality with increased commitment and political will.
He explained that the major constraint to achieving zero maternal mortality is the absence of skilled trained midwives.
He encouraged states and local governments to also work toward training nurses and midwives and not to leave the responsibility to Federal Government alone.
He said “if all the three tiers of government remain committed, achieving zero maternal mortality is possible.”
Abubakar said the council had increased the admission quota of students into midwifery schools, colleges and faculty of nursing in schools.
He stressed that “the major challenges of the council are inadequate budgetary provision and shortage of manpower.
Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in its statement to mark the 2023 International Day of the Midwife, said Nigeria needs 70,000 more midwives to close the shortage gap.
The statement indicated that the Fund’s Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem, quoted the 2021 State of the World’s Midwifery Report as putting the shortage of midwives in the country at 30,000, which is six per 10,000 people.
“To close the gap by 2030, about 70,000 more midwives are needed; but with current estimates, only 40,000 more will be created.
“This shortage is particularly acute in Northern Nigeria where essential needs for maternal and reproductive healthcare are unmet.” (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu