YFCA midwives graduate to tackle maternal mortality in remote areas [Archives:2006/963/Local News]

July 13 2006

SANA'A,12 JULY ) The Yemen Family Care Association YFCA celebrated the graduation of 28 society midwives at its head office in Sana'a yesterday. Representatives from the Health and Population Ministry, local councils and both governmental and non-governmental organizations were there to celebrate the occasion along with the head of YFCA and the families of the women graduates.

The 28 midwives, who have been trained for two years under the supervision of the High Institute for Medical Science, belong to different rural regions in Sana'a governorate and Amran governorate. Bags containing delivery equipment and cell phones were distributed to all of the midwife graduates, to ensure that they will be constantly in touch with the association in case of necessary transportation of emergency cases to the maternity section, whose ambulance is prepared with specialized first aid equipment.

Some studies pointed out that 84 percent of Yemeni women give birth at home without a trained attendant and less than half of the 65 district hospitals have the ability to perform cesarean sections.

In addition, 38.8 percent of mothers die during childbirth due to the absence of a nearby medical facility. 14.8 percent die because they cannot afford childbirth operation expenses, 8.8 percent die due to absence of proper medical equipment and facilities, 5.5 percent die because of lack of transportation in these distant regions and 2.6 percent die due to the husband's refusal to transfer the mother to a hospital. Also, 11.8 percent of mothers prefer giving birth at home.

However, maternal mortality rate is lower than in previous years; the 1990 demographic survey estimated that 1400 woman died for every 100,000 babies delivered; whereas in the 2003 demographic survey, an estimated 366 women died for every 100,000 babies delivered. That is, there are eight maternal deaths daily in Yemen, which is still considered the highest maternal mortality rate among Arab countries.

Media coordinator of YFCA, Hasiba Mohammed Aubadi, said that the graduates are the second group of midwives that have been trained and qualified to offer medical service delivery as well as creating awareness, targeting remote rural areas.

Aubadi said that training and qualifying women in the distant areas is part of a project called Safe Motherhood Project, which is supported by the British Community Fund. “The number of midwives has now reached 50 midwives that cover 20 villages in Amaran governorate and Sana'a governorate” said Aubadi.

This project, which was launched in 2002 and will be completed in 2007, is targeting a population of 350,000 of which 200,000 live in the pre-urban area and 150,000 in the rural areas, a total population that contains an estimated 50,000 women experiencing childbirth.

YFCA is a non profit voluntary NGO, working in the field of reproductive health and family planning and it provides medical services and support to those experiencing motherhood and childhood. It was establish in 1976 and it has centers in many governorates.