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Gambia observes international midwives, nurses day

May 7, 2010, 11:42 AM | Article By: Momodou Faal

The Gambia Nurses and Midwives Association on Wednesday celebrated International Midwives and Nurses Day, at the July 22nd Square in Banjul.

Deputising for the First Lady Madam Zeinab Jammeh at the occasion, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Alhagie Omar Taal said though The Gambia had registered some successes in the reduction of maternal mortality, the indicators signal that there is no room for complacency. He noted that levels of maternal mortality in The Gambia are still unacceptably high, estimated at 730 per 1000 live births.

"Every year in the sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia, more than one million infants die within the first 24 hours of life, due to lack of adequate health care services, including midwifery care," Taal revealed.

Momodou Musa Barrow, the President of the Gambia Nurses and Midwives Association pointed out that midwives and nurses of this country have now chosen to come together to engage one another in creating a high sense of professionalism by improving the standards of service, and conditions of service of midwives and nurses.

He stated that the newly merged associations are determined and ready to partner with government to look for permanent solutions to some of the problems confronting nurses and midwives in the country.

He revealed that the association had been allocated a plot of land that would provide accommodation to both the Gambian Nurses and Midwives Council and the Nurses and Midwives Association. Barrow added that it is also intended to build other structures like a conference centre, hostel, canteen and even a recreational centre for nurses.

Mr. Barrow appealed to all stakeholders to assist them in this laudable venture, noting that the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) 4 and 5, as stipulated by the United Nations requires all nations to reduce infant and maternal, by two thirds by the year 2015.

Dilating on the role of the midwives in achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, the Chief Nursing Officer at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mrs. Magerette Gomez, said maternal and child morbidity and mortality rates cannot be reduced without the full participation of nurses, midwives and others with midwifery skills in conducting safe delivery procedures. She noted that during pregnancy whether planned or unintended, the midwife is always ready to provide a welcoming gateway.

She commended the association for the good work they have been rendering to the community, and urged its members to at all times take care.