KARACHI, June 28: Karachi DCO Mir Hussain Ali, on Monday, assured to make strong recommendation before the chief minister for upgradation of the pay scale of midwives.

Addressing the inaugural session of the first midwifery symposium on "Updates in Midwifery" held under the aegis of Sobhraj Maternity Hospital here on Monday, he expressed his strong support to the cause of raising midwives status in the existing health care system besides procuring due respect and dignity for the profession.

He maintained that the considerably high incidence rate of maternal mortality and morbidity made it necessary that efficient and competent health care professionals as midwives were available in every nook and corner of the city.

Admitting that there is currently a ban on upgradation of posts, Mir Hussain Ali said that the recommendation could, however, be forwarded as till its approval efforts could be made to raise the stipend offered to the midwives serving at district government hospitals.

Regarding updated training programmes on scientific lines for the midwives, he said that city nazim taking stock of the scenario had already started establishing chain of midwifery training schools in all city government maternity homes.

Mir Hussain Ali assured to take due care in meeting the needs of Sobhraj Hospital, the institution catering to the highest number of cases from across the city but facing dearth of health care workers.

Earlier in her key note address, Jacqueline Maria Dias mentioned that nine babies were born every minute in the city while one mother in every 20 minutes was reportedly inflicted with one or the other complication during delivery process. She said that 25,000 to 30,000 deaths were registered annually across the country enhancing the need for proper intervention.

It was recommended that a holistic approach was required to strengthen the professional capabilities of the midwives, who must be provided adequate opportunities to conduct deliveries during their training.

"Since 80 per cent of all deliveries take place at homes, the trained midwives could play an important role in improving the health status of many mothers," she pointed out.

She was of the view that midwives should be groomed as an important bridge between patients and gynaecologists helping the former to receive emergency obstetric care without any unnecessary delay.

According to her, efforts must be made to intensify networking among the midwives not only to enhance their professional competency but also to prepare them as a source to empower women in general.

The speaker underscored need to review the scope of midwifery and provision of quality education and refresher programmes on regular basis. Sindh Nursing Director Alma Mughal said that curricula for midwives had been updated while referring to acute dearth of tutors.

According to her, an improper attitude even on part of gynaecologists was severely hampering the much needed change in the capabilities of midwives being trained at local schools.

Dr Asif Aslam said that one of the major components of the Unicef project for women's health was the training of midwives as well as their teachers at the centres located in Karachi, Hyderabad, and Shadadpur.

PMA's General Secretary Dr Shershah Syed mentioned that the Unicef had already published a textbook on midwifery in Urdu language, which was available at subsidized rates for students. Moreover, he said that another publication in Urdu and Sindhi languages would soon be available.

With regard to training of midwifery teachers, he said that the Unicef and Sindh government planned to hold a training programme for around 20 teachers in October this year.

Later, the students of Sobhraj Midwifery School staged a tableau highlighting the rampant apathy towards the issue of maternal health as well as hospitals. The programme was attended by EDO (Health) Dr Fazal Ellahi, Adviser to Nazim on health, Dr Abdullah Mutaqi, and senior officials of city government's health department. - APP

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