The Midwives Association of Kenya has decried the shortage of professional midwives, as the country grapples to achieve zero maternal and infant mortality.

Association Chairlady, Luisa Muteti said most midwives in the country are trained nurses who did midwifery as units in the nursing course, making them non-professionals in the field.

Speaking during International day of Mid-wives in Embu Level 5 Hospital over the weekend, the chair said the midwifery course should be delinked from nursing and made a standalone course.

She said the country had about 71 professional midwives, before the course was conjoined with nursing in 2014, and thus the numbers should be increased to be able to achieve universal health care.

She called for enhanced training in the field, as well as alignment of the midwifery curriculum to conform to the changing trends in baby deliveries, so as to achieve zero maternal and infant mortality.

“Most midwives in the country are trained nurses. Professional midwives are diminishing in number, and thus there is no enough mentoring of nurses who want to specialize in midwifery. Some of the nurses who conduct midwifery are not interested in the field and therefore puts mothers and infants into risks during deliveries,” she said.

Muteti at the same time called on pregnant women to visit professional midwives, rather than the traditional ones to be able to address any complications that may arise.

Embu County Health Executive member, Dr. Jamlek Muturi said the county will sponsor those interested to be trained on midwifery course if it is made a standalone course.

He said the county had invested in maternal care through increasing the number of maternity theatres at the Embu Level 5 Hospital, and a number of Level 4 Hospitals in the County to ease access to universal health.

Muturi added that the County has about 677 nurses trained on midwifery and have managed to ensure 99 percent success rates in deliveries in the county.

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