Mrs Toyin Saraki, Founder and President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) has advocated for training and equipping of midwives as they hold the key to health of rural women in Nigeria.
Speaking at the wrap up of a two weeks advocacy and sensitisation on the roles of midwives in Nigeria, Mrs Saraki said that women encounter midwives more than doctors.
She said that in the rural areas, a well trained and equipped midwife would educate the rural woman on many health issues that concern them.
Mrs Saraki who is wife of the President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki and a Global Goodwill Ambassador of the International Confederation Midwives emphasized the importance of reviewing the Midwifery Services Skills and Framework in Nigeria.
She called for the adoption of the World Health Organization’s Four Year Integrated Nursing And Midwifery Competency Based Prototype Curriculum For the African Region.
“We must remind ourselves the vital position midwives take in women’s health. Midwives are key to improving and maintaining women’s health.
“More women will encounter a midwife than a doctor. We must use the position of midwives in the communities and hospitals and educate women about their health, with reliable and accurate information.”
“In a recent report by the World Health Organization titled: Midwives’ Voices, Midwives’ Realities, 2750 midwives stated how they did not feel respected and empowered.
“It is our responsibility to empower and protect our midwives. Midwives should not be left without a salary, they should not have to face abuse at work or disrespect from their peers or patients.
“We must work to improving the treatment of midwives, because they are essential to the health of the nation.
”Without a midwife or a birth attendant chances of death during pregnancy and labour immediately increase by a high margin.
“If we are to improve maternal, newborn, women’s and the family’s health we must ensure midwives are well-respected and well regarded in our communities,” she said.
To begin the celebrations on Friday May 5, WBFA gave the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANMM) relief materials for 200 members of the Kuchigoro IDP camps.
As part of the advocacy, the group visited the Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, the leadership of the Senate as well as the Chairman of the House Representative Committee on Primary Health, Hon. Chike Okafor.
Part of the discussion with the lawmakers and the minister was how to strengthen midwifery services and skills in Nigeria.
She stressed that policy makers and indeed all Nigerians must remind themselves of the important role of the midwife in Nigeria.