Introduction: Midwifery is the art of
caring for women during childbearing. It is practiced throughout the world
according to the norms, traditions and cultural practices found in each
country. Maternal mortality in Nigeria is high but there are wide variations
between the geopolitical zones of the country. Government has established the
midwives service scheme (MSS) as part of efforts towards reversing the country’s
unacceptably high maternal mortality trends. To improve these indices, the MSS
in Nigeria engaged newly graduated unemployed and retired midwives to work
temporarily in rural areas. The midwives are posted for twelve months to
selected primary care facilities linked through a cluster model in which four
such facilities with the capacity to provide basic essential obstetric care are
clustered around a secondary care facility with the capacity to provide
comprehensive emergency obstetric care. This brief review is an attempt at
exploring the impact of the midwives service scheme on maternal and neonatal
indices in Nigeria. Main content: The outcome of the MSS four
years has been an improvement though unevenly and marginally, in these indices
in the various geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Improvements have been noticed in
maternal indices such as antenatal care attendance, women receiving two doses
of tetanus toxoid and number of deliveries by skilled personnel. Also reduction
in maternal and neonatal mortality has been observed over the years following
introduction of the scheme. Major challenges however, include lack of essential
drugs, poor accommodation facilities for MSS staff, irregular payment of their
remuneration and lack of water/power supply to some designated facilities for
and conclusions: It is therefore recommended that 24 hours availability of
essential drugs at primary healthcare centers be maintained. This should happen
in conjunction with regular payment of full entitlements and benefits and
provision of secured, habitable and good accommodation for MSS staff. Finally,
aggressive community mobilization should continue in order to engender
community involvement and participation for sustainable program development.
Connerton, W.C. (2012) Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Contributions on “Midwifery” in Encyclopaedia Britannica (last updated 25 May 2012).
Ochejele, S., Enegela, J. and Heywood, A. (2004) Assessment of Quality of Emergency Obstetrics Care at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Nigeria. Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 21, 160-163.
Yusuf, M.A., Hamisu, M.S., Nalini, S.K. and Greg, R.A. (2003) Maternal Mortality in Northern Nigeria: A Population Based Study. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 109, 153-157.
Onah, H.E., Okaro, J.M., Umeh, U. and Chigbu, C.O. (2005) Maternal Mortality in Health Institutions with Emergency Obstetric Care Facilities in Enugu State, Nigeria. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 25, 569-574.
Wibulpolprasert, S. and Pengpaibon, P. (2002) Integrated Strategies to Tackle the Inequitable Distribution of Doctors in Thailand: Four Decades of Experience. Human Resources for Health, 1, 12.