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The Role of Midwives in MCH. 17 th of February, 2009 Alison Lindner BSN, CNM, MPH. What Do We Know?. Skilled attendants for pregnancy care and birth are lacking

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The role of midwives in mch l.jpg

The Role of Midwives in MCH

17th of February, 2009

Alison Lindner BSN, CNM, MPH

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What Do We Know?

  • Skilled attendants for pregnancy care and birth are lacking

  • This lack of skilled attendants is disturbing since many maternal and infant deaths and morbidities are preventable during the prenatal period, as well as during labor and birth.

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  • In much of the developing world home birth with unskilled attendants or no attendant is the norm.

  • Maternal and neonatal mortality is high in the developing world

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WHO Definition

  • A midwife is a person, who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery education program, duly recognized in the country in which she is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery. She must be able to give the necessary supervision, care and advice to women during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period, to conduct deliveries on her own responsibility and to care for the newborn and the infant.

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Midwifery and Maternal Mortality

  • The midwife can assist in the prevention of maternal and child mortality and morbidity by providing:

    • Nutritional education

    • Family planning services (birth spacing, safe abortion and post abortion care)

    • Safe sex information to prevent STDs, HIV/AIDs and cervical cancer

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Midwifery and Maternal Mortality

  • Antepartum Care

    • Maternal nutrition - Vitamin A, Folic Acid, Protein, Iron – prevention of anemia, congenital anomalies

    • HIV screening/prevention of MTCT

    • Malaria prophylaxis/bed nets

    • Recognition of PIH, other maternal conditions

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Midwifery and Maternal Mortality

  • Intrapartum Care -Identify problems early and transfer to the next level of care

    • Prolonged or obstructed labor – use of partogram

    • Life Saving Skills for mother – delivery of placenta, management of maternal hemorrhage, oral rehydration, transfer of care

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Midwifery and Maternal Mortality

  • Postpartum Care

    • Early identification of problems with mother

      • Hemorrhage

      • Infection

      • Eclampsia

    • Early identification of problems with infant

      • Prematurity

      • Trouble breathing – needs resuscitation

      • Infection

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Midwifery and Maternal Mortality

  • Post abortion care

    • Many legal and other barriers

    • Training needs are great in this area

    • Need to provide preventive services, as well as safe abortion integrated into reproductive health services, making midwives and other skilled health workers the ideal providers.

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Midwifery and Maternal Mortality

  • Postpartum Care

    • Family planning/child spacing

    • Promotion of breastfeeding

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So what is this telling us?

  • Postpartum care has been a relatively neglected aspect of maternity care.

  • This low level of care is disturbing, since timely interventions during the postpartum period can prevent deaths of both mothers and newborn infants, and can reduce the incidence of long-term pregnancy-related morbidities

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Safe Motherhood

  • Safe Motherhood Initiative

    • Launched in 1987 in Nairobi, Kenya

    • Placed maternal health at the forefront of the international public health agenda

    • Addressed the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity related to the complications of pregnancy and childbirth

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  • Midwifery care is key – skilled birth attendants who can conduct safe, clean deliveries, recognize complications and manage obstetric complications (either themselves or through referral)

  • Trained TBAs from the community

  • Partnerships with women and communities

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A community partnership model

  • Community

  • Mobilization

  • Health promotion

  • Referral linkages

  • Support to Guides


  • Guides

  • Women, families

  • Home birth attendants

for saving lives

  • LSS

  • (Basic)

  • Trainers

  • Referral facility staff

  • LSS

  • (Advanced)

  • Trainers

  • Referral facility staff

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Home-Based Life Saving Skills - Objectives

  • Increase access to life-saving measures within home & community

  • Decrease delays in referral

  • Increase use of postpartum

    & post abortion family planning

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HBLSS – Intended Audience

  • Pregnant women & family caregivers

  • Home birth attendants, TBAs

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HBLSS - Focus

  • Mother Topics

  • Too much bleeding *

  • Sickness with pain & fever *

  • Birth delay

  • Pregnancy swelling & fits

  • Too many children

  • …………………………………

  • Baby Topics

  • Trouble breathing at birth

  • Born too small

  • Baby falls sick *

  • Core Topics

  • Introduction *

  • Woman & baby

    problems *

  • Preventing problems

  • Referral *

* Topic covered

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Example-- Take Action Card‘Too Much Bleeding After Birth’

Problem side

Action Side

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HBLSS - Community Mobilization

Meetings with community leaders to discuss ways to improve the situation including transportation and support for HBLSS guides

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  • Field trials completed in Ethiopia, India and Vietnam suggest that it increases access to basic life saving care in the home and community, decreases delays in women reaching referral facilities and supports the communities efforts to decrease maternal and infant death.

  • Further evaluations are planned.

  • A manual will be available soon.

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LSS - Objectives

  • Increase trained health workers skills in managing complications

  • Increase referral facilities ability to provide emergency obstetrical care.

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LSS - Audience

  • Trained health workers in referral facilities

    • Hospitals

    • Health centers

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  • Competency based training program that equips midwives with the skills to intervene in the top five life threatening maternal conditions including obstetrical hemorrhage, obstructed labor, obstetric sepsis, hypertensive disorders and complications of unsafe abortion.

  • Classroom and clinical training.

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  • This is just a brief example of some of the efforts to improve MCH care through midwifery – there are many others working.

  • If we are to prevent unnecessary maternal and infant death anywhere in the world we must be committed to social justice and the rights of women to safe and effective reproductive care.

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Thank You

to Katherine Carr