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Call to boost numbers of Pacific midwives

Last updated 08:04 22/02/2013

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Moves to boost the number of Pacific midwives are being planned in a bid to stem the high number of deaths of Pacific unborn and newborn babies.

The Counties Manukau District Health Board met recently to act on an independent review into its perinatal mortality rate which is the highest in New Zealand especially among Pacific and Maori women.

Health board strategic development director Margie Apa says it will boost scholarships and its existing programmes to recruit more Pacific midwives.

"We're also looking at ways for midwives trained in the islands to requalify in New Zealand and incentives for community midwives to take on high-needs pregnant women."

South Auckland's biggest Pacific health provider South Seas Healthcare says more Pacific midwives are needed urgently.

Clinical director Dr Andrew Chan Mow says the current number is "woefully inadequate" and a barrier to Pacific mothers getting proper ante-natal care.

New Zealand College of Midwives chief executive Karen Guilliland agrees with the urgent need to increase the number of Pasifika midwives.

The college will also host a two-day conference in March with Australian midwives to plan a Pacific-wide strategy.

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- Manukau Courier

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