By SHARLYNE ERI
THERE is a critical shortage of midwives in hospitals and clinics throughout the country, according to the president of the PNG Midwifery Society, Jennifer Pyakalyia.
Speaking at the start of a Midwifery Symposium of the society, Pyakalyia said that the country had about 700 midwives which were not enough considering the large number of vacancies in rural health facilities, and the increasing number of midwives reaching retirement age.
“We need to train more midwives because their role is very critical if we want to improve the health indicators and improve the well-being of women.”
Pyakalyia said that amidst the challenges midwives faced, there was no excuse to turn a blind eye to the many lives that were lost through pregnancy and childbirth because every woman had the right to a safe delivery.
She said that the MS aimed to provide professional support and education for incoming midwives, and its vision was to address the poor health outcomes for women and new-born children by training skilled midwives to be stationed in every health centre in the country.
“The incoming midwives are catalysts for change to bring improvement in the lives of women and infants so it is our vision to have at least one to two midwives in all the 89 districts which will provide up to 82 per cent of all the maternity care requirements for pregnant women,” she said.
Pyakalyia said contained professional training and coaching were the only way to increase the number of midwives in the country.
She highlighted that in 2011-2015, 400 midwives graduated under an Australian government supported training programme, however, that number decreased in 2015 with the closure of the programme.
By SHARLYNE ERI