The Nigerian government is deploying 1,335 basic midwives to Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and other areas of critical need across the country.
The exercise, which is in partnership with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), will engage the basic midwives on one year compulsory community service as part of their qualifications for practice.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), which is coordinating the deployment, said 1,589 of the health workers were targeted but 254 were left out having been found to be already engaged by some states or NGOs.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the orientation programme and capacity building for the new basic midwives held in Abuja.
He said the exercise is in line with the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensuring that PHCS being revitalised across the country are made functional with full complement of human resources, to enable them deliver primary healthcare services especially in the rural areas.
Mr. Faisal, who was represented at the event by the Director, Primary Healthcare System Development, Oladimeji Olayinka, said the exercise is part of government’s efforts to reduce the high rate of maternal, child and infant morbidity and mortality in the country.
Describing midwives as critical to delivering effective primary healthcare services, he said they would be trained on Emergency Obstetric Care (EMOC), Life Saving Skills (LSS) and other critical life-saving packages to further build their capacity and properly equip them with adequate knowledge and skills for the task ahead.
He admonished them to cultivate good behavior and inter-personal communication skills that would endear them to their communities and clients and thus improve demand for their services at the primary health care facilities.
Mr. Faisal said two midwives would be sent to a prioritised health facility and each would be paid a monthly stipend of N30, 000.
Mr. Faisal, who expressed delight at 100 percent retention of last year’s batch of the basic midwives by some states to which they were deployed, called on benefiting states and local government areas to encourage the health workers with necessary support and incentives to ensure their maximum productivity in their rural postings.
In his remarks, the Deputy Director, Special Duties, NMCN, Yahaya Sumi, congratulated the basic midwives on being part of the historic initiative to strengthen delivery of primary health care services in Nigeria.
He urged them to collaborate with other health workers to give the best possible quality of care to their communities and improve their professional skills.
Mr. Sumi further urged the midwives to be diligent and focused in discharging their duties and described the one -year mandatory service as one of the criteria for full certification and license and warned them against any misconduct or indiscipline during the period.