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KARACHI, Feb 29: Acknowledging the role of midwives and paramedics in the healthcare delivery system, participants in a special meeting on “mothers’ health” on Wednesday stressed the need for utilising their services at antenatal clinics and labour rooms, particularly in rural areas where the availability of lady doctors always remained a serious problem.

The participants in the meeting, comprising gynaecologists, paramedical staffs, midwives and nurses, urged the government to ensure improvement in the working conditions of the health workers in question and their deployment across the country after proper training and exposure at the earliest.

The meeting was organised by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Pakistan (SOGP) in collaboration with the Pakistan Medical Association at the PMA House. The meeting also called for providing obstetric training to paramedics.

A senior doctor and keen observer of the medical education in the country, Sher Shah Syed, said that a majority of lady doctors were not willing to work at all and were  largely limiting themselves to their homes and families.

“In a situation when lady doctors are not ready to work in the women healthcare sector, it has become more difficult to save lives of women,” he said and suggested formation of a special cadre of midwives and paramedics across the country.

He said that there was a need to bring ‘revolutionary’ changes in the women healthcare system and efforts should be made to prepare midwives and paramedics for performing some of the jobs traditionally done by doctors in villages and rural set-ups to save women’s lives in emergency situations.

SOGP secretary Dr Nighat Shah said that meeting Millennium Development Goals targets in relation to woman and child health was a big challenge for the country and the Sindh province.

Achievement of MDGs was possible only when a network of qualified and trained midwives was established, she said, adding that the government should give due respect to these health providers and ensure there deployment in all parts of the country.

A nurse-cum-midwife, Quratul Ain, said that the system of education of nursing and midwifery was faced with a worst situation.

Most of the midwifery schools lacked teachers and trainers, she said, adding that if teachers were available at some teaching centres, the centres were not properly equipped for training.

Dr Sikandar Sohani stressed the need for proper training of midwives and said that the midwives should be willing to work and help patients in all circumstances. They must be competent enough to help out women faced with infections like hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and those who suffered miscarriages or were pregnant, he added.