Nurul Islam Hasib bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-07-12 01:07:44 BdST
The move followed BMS’s collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) that hosted a workshop in Dhaka to understand the gaps within the relatively new profession in Bangladesh.
The final strategy and the first year action plan were presented at the Directorate General for Nursing and Midwifery on Tuesday in the presence of Director General Tandra Sikder.
Registrar of Bangladesh Nursing and Midwifery Council Shuriya Begum, representatives from the International Confederation of Midwives or ICM, UNFPA and BRAC were present at the function where BMS President Halima Akther presented the new plan.
Approximately 5,200 women still die every year in Bangladesh due to pregnancy or birth-related causes, that is 15 women every day, and 23 out of 1,000 newborns do not survive. Two-thirds of these deaths are preventable, according to the UNFPA.
Global evidence shows that midwives who are educated and regulated to international standards can provide 87 percent of the essential care needed for women and newborns.
The RCM and the BMS launched a new “twinning partnership” on Jul 6 as part of the efforts to strengthen the National Midwifery Programme.
The BMS was established in 2010 and is the professional midwives association in Bangladesh with more than 1,400 members.
The RCM was founded in 1881 and is the Professional Midwives Association in the UK, serving as the voice of UK midwifery with 46,000 members.
The RCM has experience in strengthening global midwifery, including successful midwifery twinning projects in Cambodia, Nepal, Nigeria and Uganda.
The UNFPA, which is funding the partnership with the UK aid from the British people, said the goal is “to strengthen the Society to advocate for the midwifery profession and to create demand for midwifery services”.
The ICM promotes twinning between professional midwifery associations as a capacity-building strategy.
Pashtoon Zyaee, technical midwifery advisor from ICM during the final presentation on Tuesday said that the “successes of BMS implementing the strategy could be presented at the next ICM Congress 2020 in Bali as a country model”.
Talking to bdnews24.com, she lauded Bangladesh for the “amazing progress” in the midwifery profession in a short time which she said “a very good example for other countries”.
“In terms of system development, it was a great achievement in the last five to seven year. Now the system is in place,” she said as midwives, as a separate profession, did not exist before 2010 in Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a UN meeting in that year announced the deployment of 3,000 midwives to improve maternal and newborn health throughout Bangladesh.
The objective of the new action plan was to strengthen the organisational and leadership capacity of BMS centrally and at the divisional level, establish a mechanism for membership registration and maintenance.
Apart from monitoring and evaluation, it has also planned to increase the visibility of the BMS including media relation.
Global Profession Advisor of the RCM Joy Kemp told bdnews24.com that the “twinning” programme would benefit both the parties.
“We can help Bangladesh midwifery services. This will also strengthen RCM and UK midwifery. It’s a reciprocal partnership,” she said.
“We’ll bring some of our UK midwives here to do some training, and conduct other activities that will be a professional development opportunity for them,” she said.
“We hope Bangladesh midwives will learn from the UK. But we also know that we will learn from Bangladesh.
“We have a large Bangladeshi community in the UK. So, if we develop the expertise by working with BMS that will help us serve Bangladeshi population in the UK. We will have deeper cultural understanding”.
She said they conducted a baseline assessment through the workshop in Dhaka.
“We are assessing the capacity of Bangladeshi midwives. We are enquiring what they want from this twinning project. We are using the tool of ICM Member Association Capacity Assessment Tool, MACAT. It's an internationally recognised tool to assess their capacity.”