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State, EU, UN to open Solwezi medical centre

BUTTYSON KANDIMBA, Solwezi
NORTH-WESTERN Province Minister Dawson Kafwaya says Government, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and European Union is working on opening a school of midwifery in Solwezi.
Mr Kafwaya said a contractor has already been engaged to renovate the old nursing school at Solwezi General Hospital and convert it into a midwifery school.
He said UNFPA has already procured teaching models that will be used by the institution.
Mr Kafwaya said North-Western Province is faced with a critical shortage of midwives and Government hopes opening a school of midwifery will help meet the demand for reproductive health services.
“To be specific, there are only 124 enrolled and registered midwives compared to the 250 positions on the staff establishment in the province. But even this number does not translate into having a midwife at each health facility in the province,” Mr Kafwaya said.
The minister said this when he officiated at the commemoration of the International Midwifery Day in Solwezi on Tuesday.
Mr Kafwaya said the need to have at least a midwife at each rural health centre cannot be over-emphasised.
He said Government is committed to supporting midwives with the necessary resources to make their work easier.
Mr Kafwaya further said Government has been making notable efforts in improving access to midwifery care and this has resulted into a reduction in maternal mortality.
And UNFPA country representative Mary Otieho said her organisation remains committed to supporting midwifery and sexual reproductive rights for all women.
“We are proud to report that we are currently working with the General Nursing Council to develop a midwifery curriculum to improve the quality and skills within the national midwifery workforce,” she said.
Earlier, president of the Midwives Association of Zambia Genevieve Toro-Musokwa appealed to Government to create the position of community midwife to improve midwifery services in the communities.
“We are aware that there is a process currently taking place for restructuring and we are appealing to Government to create community midwifery positions in the establishment. These should be based at all levels of service delivery, but more importantly, in rural and hard to reach areas,” she said.
And Chief Mumena of Solwezi appealed to Government to employ trained and competent midwives in all rural health posts to improve maternal health.
He said there was also need to expedite the construction of 650 health posts to ensure health care services are brought closer to communities.

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