x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wanted: more Emirati nurses to be trained as midwives

Students will start in February on the Midwifery Training Programme run by the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi and the Corniche Hospital.

ABU DHABI //The capital's first programme to train midwives will provide care for the emirate's "next generation of women and newborns", the head of the hospital spearheading the course said yesterday.

Students will start in February on the Midwifery Training Programme run by the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in Abu Dhabi and the Corniche Hospital.

"Based on international standards, our midwifery programme will train local healthcare practitioners to deliver care for the next generation of women and newborns," Ron Lavater, the chief executive of the Corniche Hospital, said.

The programme - an 18 month post-registered nurses' Bachelor of Applied Science in Midwifery - aims to attract more UAE nationals to the profession. So far, several Emirati students have registered.

There have been a number of calls in recent years for more Emiratis to become midwives. Dr Hanif Hassan, the Minister of Health, describes it as an "urgent need". Efforts have also been stepped up to introduce and explain the concept of midwifery.

A survey found many false impressions about the profession, such as the belief that a midwife cannot work without a doctor's direct supervision during a normal birth.

"We are specially trained to care independently for women who are low-risk pregnant," said Jane Abdulali, deputy director of nursing and midwifery at the Corniche Hospital and the only Emirati midwife in Abu Dhabi emirate. "We support them in their birth."

Midwives also help women to plan their childbirth and look after the mother and baby afterwards. "Most women like to be looked after by women they can relate to, someone who understands their cultural needs without explanation, so it's important for Emirati women to join midwifery," she said.

The new curriculum will be approved and overseen by HCT, the Corniche Hospital, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi.

Mohamed al Hameli, the chief support services officer at Seha, which runs public hospitals in Abu Dhabi, said the programme will initially accept 10 students a year. They will be employed by the Corniche Hospital as nurses during their studies.

"At this point, the focus is not on size but on offering the highest quality education," Mr al Hameli said.

Candidates for the course should be licensed, registered nurses.

While there is a strong emphasis on attracting Emiratis, GCC residents and expatriate nurses with more than two years experience in Seha healthcare facilities will also be considered.

Dubai Women's College also offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Midwifery.

zconstantine@thenational.ae