SANAA, Yemen – The U.S. government is committed to increasing women’s access to maternal and child health services by providing clinical and business training to certified midwives.
The United States Embassy in Sana’a, through a partnership between the U.S. Government and the Ministry of Public Health and Planning (MoPHP), is providing training for certified midwives on how to manage their home-based community clinics, and is also helping midwives update their technical skills by providing training in the latest essential obstetric care techniques.
Funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), midwife training helped midwives in Lahj “map” their communities to identify women of childbearing age who may eventually need midwife services, while increasing awareness of the services midwives provide. Through this training, previously unemployed midwives are now able to earn an income, and community members – some of whom previously has no access to maternal healthcare – are able to have safer deliveries and learn about pre-natal and post-natal care and nutrition.
In a separate U.S. Embassy-supported training, USAID partner The Community Livelihoods Project teamed with the local non-profit the Yamaan Foundation to train 20 private provider midwives in six governorates (Sana’a; Tai’zz; Ibb; Hudaydah; Dhamar; and Lahj). The midwives were selected from areas where there is little or no access to health services. The trainings are fully endorsed by the MoPHP.
During the Monday launch of the training for 20 midwives at Al Sabeen Hospital in Sana’a, the director of the Sana’a governorate health offices, Khaled al Muntaser said that maternal health is not just an issue that affects women. Muntaser said that ensuring a healthy mother can improve childhood nutrition, infant growth, and ultimately create a healthier society.
Providing quality services in maternal health is crucial to address the high maternal mortality rates in Yemen, low birth weights, and high malnutrition rates among children. The MoPHP estimates that 365 women die during childbirth for every 100,000 live births. Fewer than 30 percent of new mothers give birth with a skilled attendant present. Increased access to maternal healthcare will have long term results in decreasing maternal mortality rates in Yemen, which are among the highest in the world.
“Skilled health workers both in the community and at health facilities are a critical part of providing reproductive health services,” said Alia El Mohandes, M.D., senior health development officer for USAID Yemen. “USAID is committed to continue in this effort to assist the MoPHP update Yemeni midwives’ knowledge and skills while they continue to provide this much-needed service to their clients.”