In August 2015, UNDP launched a Private Business Midwifery Project, funded by UNDP and the government of Japan that aims to empower midwives to develop entrepreneurial skills to establish clinics in 22 rural districts in Taizz. The selected midwives were trained by the National Yemeni Midwives Association (NYMA) on best practices covering maternal and childhood healthcare services including family planning, obstetric and neonatal emergency and infection prevention. Small grants were given to these midwives to establish and upgrade their own clinics to support pregnant and lactating women most in need.
I wasn’t able to afford the fees to enroll in midwifery trainings to improve my maternal health skills. Having the necessary skills makes a big difference as trained midwives are more trusted and accepted by local community, Fekrah Ali Saeed, 29 years old midwife from Khadeer district in Taizz Governorate said.” She also added “I'm very happy, this project gave me hope. I have never expected to obtain as such opportunity. I have been struggling to secure the expenses of well-equipped clinic since my graduation in 2007.”
The conflict in Yemen, entering its second year, has greatly jeopardized the already poor maternal healthcare in Yemen in general and in the city of Taizz in particular. Many healthcare facilitates are on the brink of collapse as a result of the current war consequences. According to the official reports, eight women are dying every day during giving birth in the country due to lack of health facilities and midwives/qualified birth attendance, especially in the rural areas. According to the Central Statistical Organization annual reports almost 84 percent of all births in Yemen are taking place at home, and only 20 percent of it is attended by a trained midwife. The lives of 75 percent of mothers could be saved if attended during birth by a qualified midwives.
“The maternal challenges have been exacerbated by the ongoing armed conflict. The lack of access to health systems are resulting in increasing mortality rates among children and women. Midwifery profession is a life-saving job for the mother and child. There is an urgent need for midwives due to non-existence of health facilities nearby. The hospitals in Taizz are far and inaccessible due to the ongoing conflict,” Fekrah said.
Around 3,000 families have fled the armed confrontation in Taizz to the neighboring rural areas. This has raised the urgent need for maternal health services, which were even weaker prior to the current conflict.
The equipment provided to the midwives allows and facilitate their work in carrying examinations of blood pressure, body temperature, heart pulse and provide checkups for newborns. This allowed midwives to carry out their maternal health services to their communities and also be able to diagnose those cases that requires special health care and attention.
“Now I have all necessary facilities to support delivery services to pregnant mothers and newborns in my community. I started to receive many maternal cases per day and I am very happy to undertake this endeavor in saving the lives of mothers and infants. I consider my job as a charity. I only impose small fees on patients as most of my patients are very poor. But my income has grown. I no longer feel uneasy about the future. Now, I completely rely on my clinic income and I no longer obliged to look for other job opportunities to make a living, Fekrah concluded.”
- Private Business Midwifery Project aims to develop entrepreneurial skills to establish clinics in 22 rural districts in Taizz
- CSOs reports that almost 84% of all births in Yemen are taking place at home, 20% of it is attended by a trained midwife
- Around 3,000 families have fled the armed confrontation in Taizz to the neighboring rural areas