Community midwives initiative... By Amina
18 September, 2012
A high maternal mortality ratio is one of the major health issues of Pakistan, which is hindering the prospects of achieving national and international health-related indicators. Unfortunately, Pakistan is one of the six countries that contribute to 30 percent of the world maternal mortality rate. As a response, a major initiative of deployment and training of community midwives (CMWs) was launched under the MNCH programme in 2006 to improve the quality of mother and child health-related services. Numbers of midwives are trained as skilled birth attendants and are providing quality services in almost all districts of the country. However, some factors are holding back the expected outcomes of the programme.
In this regard, a comprehensive study conducted by the Children First in 10 districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir identified a lack of awareness about CMWs, perceived high fees, distance constraints, access to other competing choices, deficient communication strategy and non-involvement of communities at the time of deployment as the main barriers that are limiting the CMWs' service outreach. It is the need of the hour to address the operational and administrative gaps involved in ineffective implementation of this potentially beneficial healthcare project. Government along with responsible authorities should immediately adopt a practical execution strategy to strengthen the CMWs, especially in rural areas, and to improve the overall maternal and child health scenario.