June 9, 2016
Assistant representative of the United Nations Population Fund, Ibrahim S. Kamara, has said that his organisation would continue to give more support to the schools of midwifery in Freetown and Makeni.
He made the promise during the graduation and awards ceremony of midwives, themed ‘Women and Newborn, The Heart of Midwifery’, held at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown on Saturday, 4 June, 2016.
The event was organised by the National School of Midwifery in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, with support from UNFPA and other partners.
He pledged support to continue working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to support the education, training and regulation of midwives in Sierra Leone, as well paying tuition fees and allowances to student midwives in both midwifery schools.
“We will rehabilitate and refurbish the midwifery schools with teaching and learning materials, furniture, ICT and provide other support for the running of the schools,” he promised, adding that they would also be supporting field supervision and mentoring of students in clinical placements and developing and producing student portfolios/case study and assessment books.
He said that Sierra Leone, sadly, has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world at an average of 3,000 maternal deaths per year, as estimated by WHO in 2015.
The UNFPA Assistant Representative, on behalf of the Country Office, congratulated the principal, staff and graduating students for having successfully completed the training programme.
He also noted that since UNFPA entered into partnership with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in the midwifery project, “Over 376 midwives have been trained from the two midwifery schools in the country, surpassing the target of 300 set for implementation of the Health Sector Strategic Plan (2010-2015).”
He further pledged UNFPA’s continued support to the schools and enhancing midwifery practice in the country.
In presenting the school’s report, principal of the school, Dr. Joan Shepherd noted that midwives were a much needed human resource in Sierra Leone, key to safe motherhood and pivotal in the reduction of maternal and infant mortality.
She acknowledged the immense support of the UNFPA Country Team in the form of payment of tuition fees and monthly allowances to students, curriculum review, administrative support, research, among others.
In her keynote address, Deputy Minister of Health & Sanitation 1, Madam Madina Rahman reiterated her ministry’s commitment to improving maternal and child health in Sierra Leone, including strengthening midwifery training programme.
“The Ministry of Health believes in investing in strategies, programmes and interventions aiming at delivering quality care, thus reducing unnecessary loss of lives through pregnancy and child birth complications,” she noted.
She said the 61 newly qualified midwives would ease the current shortage of midwives in areas where they were mostly needed.