By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
THE great contributions of midwives in the Bahamas, many that may have gone unnoticed, will be celebrated during this year’s International Midwives Day.
International Midwives Day is celebrated every year globally on May 5 to commemorate and increase awareness about the contribution of midwives towards patients and their health of their respective nations. It is embraced with great enthusiasm in more than 50 countries around the world.
Locally, celebrations will include two special events held under the theme “Midwives: Defenders of Women Rights”. The special events will take place May 3-5 at SuperClub Breezes. There will also be a worship service at Mount Ararat Baptist Church with Rev Dr Gloria.
“Many of the works of midwives have gone unnoticed. Many of these persons worked when resources were scarce, technology was non-existent and there were no physicians on many of the Family Islands,” said Ella Anderson, president of the Midwives Association.
“Midwives greatly contribute to the reduction of our mother and infant mortality rates. Every effort is made to ensure that every island of our Commonwealth has the presence of a midwife. Many of the works of past midwives have gone unrecognised, therefore we have decided to recognise some of these living legends and memorialise some of our fallen legends. Every life has been touched by a midwife, so we salute our living legends and thank them for their invaluable contributions,” she said.
Ms Anderson said it is very important that midwives are recognised because in today’s world many people are not even aware of the contributions they make to healthcare.
“They are like the cast behind the scene that contributes to a great movie,” she said.
Midwives are trained healthcare professionals who specialise in maternal and child health and provide an array of services for women. They also provide expert care during labour, delivery and after the birth.
The midwife’s duties begins at the antenatal clinics where mothers are greeted, educated, evaluated, referred if necessary, and prepared for the labour process.
The care continues during labour with continual assessment, support, safety measures, advocacy and ultimately delivery.
“The postpartum period extends way beyond the delivery of the newborn. There again is assessment, support, education for the entire family, referrals if necessary, and helping the mother to transition with minimal difficulties,” said Ms Anderson.
Currently, training for midwifery is done at the University of the Bahamas. It is an 18-month post-registered nurse programme.
“There are countries with singularly trained midwives, however, in the Bahamas all of our midwives are also registered nurses,” said Ms Anderson. “There is a great demand for midwives, as childbirth will never end and women need the care and expertise of healthcare professionals. Not only our infant and women mortality rates depend on it, our country depends on it to ensure a healthy nation.”