Government of Odisha launches specialized course for nurses to train them as midwives

Cuttack: The Government of Odishahas launched a specialized course – ‘Nurse Practitioner Midwifery (NPM) – to professionally train mid-wives to provide high quality health care to pregnant women.
The 18-month long course will be run at the College of Nursing, SCB Medical College in Cuttack with technical guidance from the Fernandez Foundation in Hyderabad. For the first batch of the course 30 staff nurses have been selected from the district hospitals of Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Balangir, Malkangiri and Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar to undergo the NPM training course. The candidates for the training were selected through a stringent process of a written test followed by an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
This trained cadre of midwives will support the pregnant women during Antenatal and Postnatal period and would also be conducting normal deliveries at the district hospitals where they are employed. A `Midwife-led Care Unit’ has also been established within the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the SCB Medical college.
With more than 90% of deliveries in Odisha, taking place at the health facilities, trained midwives would be an important addition to improve maternal and newborn services. Additionally, this highly skilled cadre of professional midwives would help the state to meet the shortages of human resources in health services. The NPM course is expected to train more numbers of midwives in the coming years who could be placed in different hospitals across the state to provide quality care for mothers and newborn.
Luigi D’Aquino, Chief of Health Section UNICEF India congratulated the Government of Odisha for becoming the second state in the country to roll out the NPM course. He said, “It has become evident that while the coverage of services has significantly increased over the years, ensuring quality health care remains a challenge in some areas. The need is to improve quality care to prevent maternal deaths and skilled midwives will be an important addition to the health cadre to this end. UNICEF has been closely associated with the Midwifery Initiative in India, at both at the National and State levels since its inception and we would continue to support this initiative in future as well.”
Dr. Lucy Das, Superintendent, SCB Medical College and Hospital spoke on the occasion and expressed her full willingness to support this important initiative with all possible resources.
Dr. Tusar Kar, head of department, Obstetrics and Gynaecology SCB Cuttack, said, “We have started this new initiative in a small way. However, we need to ensure that the practice of midwifery grows and more mothers and newborns benefit from timely, caring and quality care.”He expressed confidence that the midwives can function effectively.
Monika Nielsen, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Odisha said, “Creating a cadre of professional midwives who have the capacity and skills as per international standards would revolutionizematernal and newborn care in Odisha. These skilled personnel would be able to take care of low-risk deliveries and mitigate the risks due to shortage of skilled human resource in health, leading to decline in maternal and newborn mortality.”
Dr. Padmini Kashyap, Assistant Commissioner, Maternal Health, MoHFW congratulated the state on this important occasion and also announced that the State Midwifery Training Institute would be upgraded to National Midwifery Training Institute (NMTI) in the coming years. She thanked UNICEF for the ongoing support and also requested for providing International Midwife Educators for NMTI.
Dr. Dinabandhu Sahu, Team Lead, SHRC, NHM, Odisha also spoke on the occasion and expressed his appreciation for the efforts put in by all stakeholders and farsightedness of MD NHM in initiating this course in order to improve the quality of maternity and newborn services.
Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nayak, Vice President, Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Odisha (AOGO) expressed her supportand confidence in the Midwifery course.
Also present on the occasion were Dr. Padmini Kashyap, Assistant Commissioner, Maternal Health, MoHFW, Dr. Evita, Chairperson, Fernandez Foundation, NMTI and Dr. Dinabandhu Sahu, TL, SHRC, NHM Odisha.

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