Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, the MEC for Health, attended the International Midwifery Day celebrations on Tuesday May 3 at the University of Stellenbosch’s Nursing Division at Tygerberg Hospital medical campus.
The event commemorates the role of midwives in providing quality perinatal healthcare services to women and children.
Dr Mbombo said as the Western Cape government, they believe in the crucial importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s development in securing a child’s bright future.
“This starts from conception, moving through pregnancy, birth and the first two years of life,” said Dr Mbombo.
She said the care provided by midwives is integral in promoting and supporting the wellness of both mother and child within that period.
“Well-trained and supported midwives working in communities are uniquely positioned to provide compassionate, respectful care to women during pregnancy and childbirth,” she said.
Dr Mbombo said the department operates Midwife Obstetric Units (MOUs), run by midwives themselves, in urban areas and satellite or fixed clinics in the rural communities.
She said that in the Peninsula Maternal and Neonatal Service, midwives manage approximately 50 percent of births in MOUs.
“These units have a proven record of providing quality healthcare to expectant mothers and their newborns.
“It’s advisable for expectant mothers to book their first visit to the clinic before 20 weeks, or as soon as possible thereafter, so as to provide themselves and their child with the best possible care,” said Dr Mbombo.
She highlighted some of the services that midwifery helps; it contributes to healthier families and communities; helps minimise preventable maternal and neonatal deaths; and allows doctors and other health professionals to focus on providing other health needs.
Dr Mbombo said: “On this international day of the midwife, we applaud the work done by the province’s trained and dedicated midwives in contributing to the wellness of women and their babies, sometimes under stressful and difficult conditions and in hard-to-reach communities,” said Dr Mbombo.