LAHORE - Pakistan Nursing Council’s (PNC) President Dr Rafat Jan has said that midwives could prevent about two thirds of deaths among women and newborns.

Speaking at a seminar on “Revival of midwifery to save mothers and neonates in Pakistan” organised by the University of Health Sciences (UHS) in collaboration with the University of Wolverhampton, UK yesterday, she said that role of midwives extends from family planning to comprehensive reproductive health services.

Dr Rafat said that the return on investment on midwives could be termed as a ‘best buy’ as investment in their education and deployment could yield many fold returns in terms of saved costs from complications at the time of birth and ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths. She said that midwives and lady health visitors (LHVs) deserved better career structure as they faced many challenges in the course of delivering their much needed services.

UHS Vice Chancellor Prof Muhammad Aslam said that training and deployment of skilled birth attendants or midwives in communities was effective and cost efficient way of reducing maternal mortality rate. He said that in Pakistan the number of midwives fell far short of the need and those working in various communities lacked appropriate skills. He added that UHS was launching a certificate programme in midwifery for the nurses and doctors in collaboration with the University of Wolverhampton, UK.

This programme would be accredited by Pakistan Nursing Council. He further said that initially the certificate programme would be launched in four districts-Lahore, Sahiwal, Gujrat and Gujranwala. He said that an agreement had been signed in this regard between the two universities.

Dr Anne Hollinshead Senior Lecturer, and Mercia Edward, Head of Midwifery, University of Wolverhampton, UK, Prof AR Gatrad, Consultant Paediatrician at Manor Hospital, Walsall, UK, Dr. Arif Rashid Khawaja, Dirctor UHS Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, Dr Ijaz Bashir of Cleft Hospital Gujrat and Nazia Ilyas, UHS Assistant Professor Nursing also spoke on the occasion.