The federal government is planning to upgrade the standard of midwifery practices in Nigeria by reviewing the training process and improving motivation for the professionals.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, announced the plan on Wednesday at a programme in commemoration of the 2017 International Day of the Midwife (IDM) in Abuja.
According to Mr. Adewole, a knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce is an important catalyst to achieving Universal Health Coverage.
As such, he said, there is a need for pre- service training for health workers, which would involve regular curriculum review and provision of adequate funding.
In line with the plan, the minister explained that the government was reviewing the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS). The scheme was launched in 2009 with the aim of ensuring skilled birth attendants through the recruitment and deployment of midwives to underserved areas as frontline workers.
“Our plan is to modify the scheme based on lesson learnt to improve efficient service delivery in our drive to revitalize the primary healthcare services delivery in the country”, he said.
“Improvement on the training for midwives in the country is very crucial in service delivery, especially at the primary healthcare level which the Federal Ministry of Health has committed to revitalizing as the bedrock of the health system”.
Mr. Adewole noted that the National Health Policy considers primary healthcare as the framework to improve health services for all Nigerians, which include provision of health education, adequate nutrition, safe water and sanitation, reproductive health among others.
He said the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, was established to provide strategic support for the development and delivery of primary healthcare, which include developing guidelines on the implementation of primary healthcare services and enforcing such guidelines.
Mr. Adewole said state governments were also expected to establish State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SPHCDA) to directly oversee the implementation of primary healthcare services in the various states, stressing that the essence of the policy was to decongest the excess burden of consultations in the tertiary and specialist health facilities.
Also speaking at the event, wife of the Senate President and founder of WellBeing Foundation, Toyin Saraki, stressed the need for Government, NGOs and development partners to invest in capacity building for midwives and nurses.
The minister, while thanking the development partners especially UNFPA for strengthening the midwifery workforce over the years, commended Mrs. Saraki for supporting government’s initiative of providing quality maternal, newborn and child health services in the country through her NGO.
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