Nepal: Partnership with MOHP, UNFPA, WHO and GIZ to foster Midwifery Education

RMF Participates in the Third National Midwifery Conference: Q2 2019

August 01, 2019

Ganesh K. Shrestha

The abstract book released by organizing chair Professor Kiran Bajracharya

The abstract book released by organizing chair Professor Kiran Bajracharya

Program Update


The Third Triennial National Midwifery Conference occurred in conjunction with the International Day of the Midwife. The event was successfully held in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and the Midwifery Society of Nepal (MIDSON) on May 4–5, 2019. There was a total of 35 presentations that were organized into 6 parallel sessions (23 oral presentations), 2 plenary sessions (8 oral presentations), and 4 panel discussions under 9 thematic sessions. The conference brought together 353 participants, including 335 women and 18 men, from 63 different organizations and eight different countries.

First meeting of the Technical Working Group for Midwifery was held on June 25, 2019. This group was formed by the Director General of the Department of Health Services, Nepal, on May 27, 2019. The group members and their roles within the working groups will be as follows:

  • Director of Nursing and Social Security Division, DoHS – Coordinator
  • Representative of Policy Planning and Monitoring Division, MOHP – Member
  • Representative of Family Welfare Division, DOHS – Member
  • Representative of National Health Training Center – Member
  • Representative of WHO – Member
  • Representative of GIZ – Member
  • Representative of UNFPA – Member
  • Representative of NSI – Member
  • Representative of NHSSP – Member
  • Representative of RMF – Member
  • Section Chief of Nursing Development – Member Secretary
Participants at the Third Triennial National Midwifery Conference

Participants at the Third Triennial National Midwifery Conference

Third Triennial National Midwifery Conference


Since its establishment in 2010, the Midwifery Society of Nepal has been organizing the National Midwifery Conference every three years in order to exchange knowledge and experience as well as share updates on the progress of midwifery education and services in the country. Following the successful completion of two national conferences in 2013 and 2016, the Third Triennial National Midwifery Conference was successfully organized by MIDSON on May 4–5, 2019. The theme of this year’s conference was: “Midwives: Advocates for Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Rights.”

The third conference was highly relevant to the changing context of midwifery in Nepal after the successful initiation of midwifery education in the country in 2016. This conference was held in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and the Nursing and Social Security Division (NSSD), with the support of partners and stakeholders involved in improving sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and adolescent health (SRMNAH) in Nepal. Two days before the conference, press conferences with 13 different media houses’ journalists were held at Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital in order to disseminate information about the conference and its importance. The conference was even more intriguing due to its proximity to the special occasions of the Mother’s Day in Nepal on May 4 and International Day of the Midwife on May 5, which is celebrated around the world every year with different themes and related activities where midwives’ roles are highlighted and midwifery-related issues are addressed. The conference was unique, innovative, and meaningful, offering its members, student midwives, and stakeholders an opportunity for professional and personal development in the field of maternity care.


The objectives of the Third Triennial National Midwifery Conference were:

  • To share and exchange updated knowledge and skills related to SRMNAH from global and national perspectives.
  • To provide a platform for discussion of midwives’ critical role in preserving and promoting SRMNAH services.
  • To discuss issues and challenges and scale up strategies on midwifery education and services in Nepal and to identify strategic interventions to address issues.
  • To call for action in strengthening midwifery care in order to make strides in addressing challenges relating to the development of midwifery in Nepal.


The conference brought together 353 participants, 335 women and 18 men, from 63 different organizations and eight different countries: Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal, United Kingdom, and United States. The participants represented government offices, academia, civil society, the private sector, UN agencies, media, and external development partners. Participants included midwifery educators, clinical nurses, midwifery and nursing students, public health professionals, obstetricians, women’s health and rights activists, government officials, journalists, and international midwives from Australia, Malaysia, UK, and Canada.

Outcomes and Results

This conference focused on discussing ways of improving maternal and neonatal health by strengthening midwifery services in the country as per the government of Nepal’s National Policy on Skilled Birth Attendants of 2006 and the National Health Policy of 2014 within the framework of the sustainable development goals. The ultimate objectives of the conference were to share experiences, inspire professionals and partners, build networks and take action in improving maternal and newborn health in Nepal.

The conference served as a platform for sharing experiences on the importance of midwifery workforce development and deployment for quality maternity care services and the improvement of maternal and newborn health in the country. Participants presented examples of practices and lessons learned on the development and strengthening of the midwifery cadre and addressed maternity and reproductive health care services and related issues. The main outcome of the conference was a call to action which was communicated through the presentations, panel discussions, and key speakers’ notes. This call to action reinforces a clear pathway for the government, stakeholders, civil society, and professionals which to work together in saving the lives of childbearing Nepali women and newborns through the education of skilled, competent midwives. By supporting these midwives through functional services, we hope to avert two-thirds of maternal and newborn deaths in Nepal by 2030 in order to attain the three sustainable development goal targets.

The oration of the conference was done by Dr. Emi Nurjasmi, President of the Indonesian Midwives Association and executive board member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) of Southeast Asia. She highlighted the history and development of midwifery education and practice as well as midwifery policy in Indonesia.

Students performing in the cultural program

Students performing in the cultural program

Conference Sessions

Inauguration Session

The session was inaugurated by the chief guest, Honorable Dr. Surendra Kumar Yadav, State Minister of the MOHP, lighting panas (pictured below), followed by the national anthem and a welcome dance performed by the students of Paropakar Nursing Campus. Dr. Laxmi Tamang, President of MIDSON, welcomed the conference delegates. An abstract book was released by the organizing chair, Professor Kiran Bajracharya, Founder and President of MIDSON, highlighting the journey of the Midwives Association of Nepal (MIDSON) from 2016 onwards.

The inaugural session ended with closing remarks by Dr. Archana Pandey, Conference Coordinator and Vice President of MIDSON.

Scientific Session

There were total of 35 presentations that were organized into 6 parallel sessions (23 oral presentations), 2 plenary sessions (8 oral presentations), 4 panel discussions under the nine thematic sessions:

  • Strengthening midwifery in improving maternal and newborn health in Nepal
  • Inter-professional collaboration in strengthening quality of maternity care in Nepal
  • Maternity care I: Prenatal, natal, postnatal, and newborn care
  • Consultation with the government and relevant stakeholders for the importance of formulating policies for the implementation of the Safe Motherhood program as well as the Reproductive Health and Rights Act, focusing on safe abortion
  • Safe motherhood and reproductive health
  • Accessibility and availability of safe abortion among young women in Nepal
  • Midwifery education
  • Reproductive health and rights
  • Reproductive health morbidities

Closing Session

The closing session was chaired by a special guest and member of National Planning Commission, honorable Dr. Ush Jha.

Prof. Kiran Bajracharya, organizing chair, highlighted the activities of the two-day conference. Similarly, Dr. Laxmi Tamang announced a joint statement on Nepal Midwifery 2019, which was signed by the conference delegates, and delivered closing remarks.

Along with the sharing of knowledge and experiential learning over the two-day session, cultural activities were performed by the students from Star Academy, the faculty of Paropakar Nursing Campus, and Nepal Army Institute of Health Sciences. Ms. Nani Maiya Kaway, organizing secretary of the conference and secretary of MIDSON, officially thanked the guests and all participants.

To acknowledge all the committee members, panelists, and government officials, a post-conference dinner was organized at Embassy Restaurant, Pani Pokhari Lazimpat, Kathmandu.

1. Address gaps in human resources, including faculty development
2. Provide scholarships for students from underserved communities
3. Support infrastructure development: i.e. classrooms, hostel facility
4. Acquire Skills Lab/Equipment (dummy/ anatomical models)

In 2006, Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) introduced the National Policy of Skilled Birth Attendants with an aim to bring about sustainable development and reduce the mother and child mortality rates. In 2009, MOHP finalized its selection of 4 universities to pioneer midwifery education as a professionally accredited degree in Nepal. These universities are:

  • B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS),
  • Kathmandu University (KU),
  • National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), and
  • Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS).

It was agreed that the universities would establish professional midwifery education as a separate faculty within the university and offer a bachelor’s degree in midwifery as a professionally accredited course. The curriculum would be proposed by each university to the Nepal Nursing Council (NNC) for review and finalization. The NNC would offer accreditation to the proposed curriculum only if it was confirmed to be consistent with ICM/WHO international standards.