RMF Program Coordinator Pragya Gautam in a discussion with subject experts at the workshop
Between July and September of 2018, RMF was involved in the following activities to promote midwifery education and awareness in Nepal:
- Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (KAHS) has been accredited by Nepal Nursing Council and may now commence its Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences program.
- Nepal Nursing Council (NNC) organized a Workshop on Finalization of Minimum Requirements for PCL Midwifery program on August 9, 2018.
- Nepal Nursing Council conducted its second round of training for midwifery educators.
- External development partners (EDPs) conducted a meeting in order to explore new possibilities to increase resources in the field of midwifery education.
Workshop on Requirements for PCL Midwifery Program
Nepal Nursing Council organized the Workshop on Finalization of Minimum Requirements for PCL Midwifery Program on August 9, 2018. This workshop was conducted in order to finalize not only the curriculum content of the PCL Midwifery program, but also its minimum requirements for admission. Other topics of discussion included candidate eligibility and practicum requirements.
The program was chaired by President of NNC Ms. Goma Devi Niraula Shrestha. Many guests were invited, including the Director of Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital interdepartmental collaborative representative Prof. Dr. Geeta Rana, obstetricians and gynecologists, public health experts, education experts, and representatives from other organizations.
Several distinguished guests made speeches at the workshop. Dr. D.S. Malla, a well-known a pioneer of midwifery advocacy in the community, expressed her happiness that formal midwifery education has commenced in Nepal. Dr. Malla said that during her initial days as a practicing medical officer she was very impressed by the nurses supporting women throughout the labor process. She added that a doctor could by no means provide such a support to these women during labor, only a midwife could. She extended her best wishes for the advancement of the program and congratulated everyone who contributed to this tremendous accomplishment.
Distinguished guest Prof. Dr. Geeta Rana also made a speech during the program. She emphasized that maternal mortality and neonatal mortality would decline in the future as a result of government support of midwifery education. After attending a series of presentations on prerequisites for the PCL Midwifery Program, she stressed the need to focus on the use of fetoscopes, the best instruments to assess fetal heart sounds and uterine prolapse, as well as temporary management methods such as ring pessaries and bag-mask ventilation procedures.
Prof. Kiran Bajracharya, President of MIDSON, congratulated everyone in attendance for the official introduction of midwifery education in Nepal. She said that although we are taking small steps in the field of midwifery education, it is not the time to rest and celebrate, but the time to even work harder to ensure that midwives can serve their true purpose. She added that the government must quickly respond to ensure employment opportunities and career advancement for the future graduates of the PCL Midwifery program. Prof. Bajracharya further urged the government to take this call to action seriously. She also asked all of the associated organizations to advocate for the roles of midwives within the healthcare system of Nepal. Developed countries have lower maternal and neonatal mortality rates because they have midwives providing full time service to women, even prior to pregnancy, she said, adding that in Nepal, the health care system needs to integrate new avenues and new practices.
The Workshop on Finalization of Minimum Requirements for PCL Midwifery Program was successful. Participants contributed important input for finalizing the minimum requirements and prerequisites of the PCL Midwifery Program.
NAMS Midwifery Students after a roleplay activity in the community
Karnali Academy of Health Sciences Accepting Applications
Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (KAHS) is now accredited by Nepal Nursing Council and as a result is able to instate a Bachelor in Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program. After a year-long tedious preparation, the academy is now prepared to welcome its first intake of BMS students.
A team from NNC visited KAHS earlier this year for to assess the feasibility of a BMS program. They found that the institute was prepared for the program aside from its lack of a midwifery skills lab. RMF supported KAHS by providing equipment for the midwifery skills lab which finally rendered KAHS eligible to run the program.
KAHS Nursing Dean Assoc. Prof. Saraswoti Gautam expressed her appreciation and gratitude for RMF’s support. According to her, without the equipment provided by RMF, the academy would not have been established for another year. As the institution is located in the remotest area of the country where the need for the midwives is greater, KAHS is especially excited to educate a competent cadre of midwives who will provide services in the surrounding area in the coming years.
KAHS has already advertised for application to the BMS program from eligible candidates. They will soon commence the program with 10 students whose scores on the NAMS entrance examination have placed them on the merit list.
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.