ISLAMABAD: Asifa Rani, a Community Midwife (CMW) at Phagwari near Dina, has been providing services at homes for the last three years but she is not satisfied with her profession.
It is not because she has no interest in her profession and wants to do something else, but because most of the people who hire her services do not pay her fee.
Midwifery is a health care profession in which providers offer care to childbearing women during pregnancy, labour and birth, during the postpartum period, and between pregnancies.
Practitioners also help care for the newborn and assist the mother with breastfeeding.
They also provide birth control, education and prescriptions for health care.“I am not the only one who has been facing that problem. Majority of CMWs do not get their fee because they deal with those people who cannot afford to pay the expenses of hospital,” he said.
Ms Rani was speaking to participants of a workshop on: “Are Community Midwives Addressing the Inequities in Access to Skilled Birth Attendance.”
The workshop was organised by non-governmental organization Research and Advocacy Fund in collaboration with the University of Alberta, Canada at local hotel on Wednesday.
Ms Rani said that her husband works abroad so she can afford to do social service but majority of CMWs earn their living from that profession so government should introduce stipend for them just like lady health workers.
Principal Investigator of the research and Associate Professor University of Alberta, Dr. Zubia Mumtaz, also agreed with Ms Rani.
She said that according to her findings CMWs usually charged around Rs3,500 for the delivery of a child but still they didn’t get their fee because the community which availed services of CMWs was very poor.
“CMWs provide services to women round the clock but still they are not recognized by the government. Pakistan, with a maternal mortality rate (MMR) of 297 deaths/100,000 live births, is one of six countries contributing to half of all maternal deaths worldwide,” she said.
“The study was aimed at exploring whether the CMWs are achieving the government objective of improving access to the full scope of skilled maternity care for poor, socially excluded women in Pakistan,” she said.
Senator Begum Najma Hameed, President, women wing of PML-N, said that government has been giving more importance to women and has been considering starting programmes for the empowerment of the women. She said that maternal health is most important.
Member National Assembly Chaudhry Khadim Hussain said that Basic Health Unit had been established in every union council and people would be encouraged to ensure childbirth at the Basic Health Unit.
DG Health Punjab Dr Zahid Parvez said that government had been taking steps to facilitate CMWs.