Hyderabad: In a pioneering initiative, Telangana is all set to become the first Indian State to have an exclusive cadre of midwives dedicated to the well-being of mother and child. This is for the first time that a State-run initiative has been launched to create a layer of professional midwives between a doctor and pregnant women.
As many as 30 senior government nurses, who are in the final stages of completing a scientifically developed midwifery training programme, are set to be absorbed in State-run mother and child care centres in the next few months. The senior nurses, who were selected after a thorough vetting process including clearing multiple written tests and viva, were trained by acclaimed midwifery professionals from UNICEF, United Kingdom and Hyderabad-based Fernandez Hospital.
In fact, according to health officials, recently all the 30 nurses have scored more than 75 per cent in Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH) practical tests. The PPH, which involves massive loss of blood among mothers after having childbirth, is the most common cause for maternal deaths in the State.
“The midwives will be absorbed in government maternity hospitals that receive large number of pregnancies on a daily basis. For the first batch of midwives, we chose only in-service candidates after they cleared a series of tests,” says Dr. Padmaja, Maternal Health, Commissionerate of Health and Family Welfare, Telangana.
The need to introduce a separate layer of midwives in the health care system of the State arose due to the inherent challenges in prevention and control of Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and unnecessary caesarean sections (C-sections) in Telangana.
The overcrowded government maternity hospitals allow specialist doctors to spend little quality time with pregnant women. During a typical outpatient day, doctors at tertiary maternity hospital like Petlaburj meet anywhere between 120 and 140 pregnant women, which often could lead to lack of communication and even compromise in quality of health care.
To address these concerns that fuelled MMR and C-sections rates, a workforce of highly skilled, trained, professional, competent and accountable cadre of midwives whose primary focus is mother and child care has been created.
The midwives have been specially trained to identify and take care of low risk pregnant women who have no health related complications. The high risk pregnancies are then referred to a State-run tertiary maternal care centre where a specialist can give more time to the mother.
Usually, 85 per cent of the pregnancies in State-run hospitals fall under the category of low-risk pregnancies, which means a dedicated cadre of midwives have the potential to reduce the load of pregnant women on speciality obstetricians and gynaecologists at Government hospitals.