Stakeholders in the health sector have called for the scaling up of investment in midwifery training in order to alleviate the shortage of midwives in the public sector which is a major contributor to the high neo-natal and maternal mortality rates in the country.The 5th of May is set aside to honour midwives. In Zimbabwe, pregnancy and child birth is one of the leading killers of women with 725 women dying per every 100 000 births while 25 children die in every 1 000 live births.
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr. Douglas Mombeshora said government is taking measures to increase the number of trained midwives adding that primary care nurses are now undergoing midwifery training for six months before graduating.
Various organisations including UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO have partnered the Zimbabwe government in programmes aimed at strengthening midwifery training.
UNFPA Emergency Obstretic Care Programme Officer Mrs. Agnes Makoni said midwives play a crucial role in saving lives and strengthening national health systems.
While the majority of midwives are committed to their profession, there are a few who have made the child bearing experience a nightmare for many mothers.
Tales are told of how some midwives even go to the extent of scolding or beating up women during labour.Â
International Midwives day was first celebrated in 1991, and is observed in more than 50 countries.
The global theme for the period 2010 to 2015 is â€˜The world needs midwives now more than ever.â€™
Zimbabwe is set to hold belated commemorations later this month.