Kenya makes fruitful strides on midwifery
Lilian Kaivilu @liliankaivilu
The country has made notable steps in the recognition of midwives as a stand-alone discipline in medicine.
Boniface Mutisya, a senior midwife at Kenyatta National Hospital says since the launch of the Midwives Association in 2016, the profession has grown both in numbers and in quality of services.
Today, Amref International University, Masinde Muliro University and Aga Khan International University offer Bachelor of Arts courses in midwifery; a step Mutisya terms a huge boost to the profession.
“This is a great milestone. It requires a lot of skill and it’s very involving to effectively take care of mother and the baby.
You have to be somebody who has passion. If mothers trust you, be sure to get a good outcome.
If they don’t, regardless of your skills, there will be gaps,” says Mutisya, also the representative of all midwives in the Nursing Council of Kenya.
The challenge of Covid-19, he adds, has seen many mothers shun hospitals, a trend that is likely to see a drop in hospital deliveries.
In the curfew rules, Mutisya says the government overlooked the need for free movement of pregnant mothers.
He says a good referral system and an effective insurance scheme would see a huge reduction of maternal mortality in the country.
According to Dr Ademola Olajide, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative to Kenya, midwives play a critical role in responding to public health emergencies.
“They are essential to the strong, resilient health systems we need to survive the coronavirus.
It is imperative not to jeopardise essential sexual and reproductive health services by diverting midwives to serve as emergency personnel,” says Ademola.
UNFPA Kenya contributed to the amendment of the Nurses Act to include midwifery, an ongoing process that will see a change in the current council to read Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Currently, the organisation has procured 90 birth models to equip the skills labs in midwifery schools in 30 counties in the country.
This is to enhance the skills and knowledge of trainee midwives to manage and conduct normal deliveries to reduce unnecessary cesarean sections.
In Kenya, more than 5,000 women and girls lose their lives due to preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
Experts believe that more than 85 per cent of these can be prevented with well-trained, skilled, motivated and supported midwives.