SAF-Madanjeet Singh Scholarships: Training Programme for Assistant Nurse Midwifes (ANM)

News 1st January 2006

Skilled Care at Birth for the Poorest by Dr. Rita Thapa, SAF Nepal Chairperson, Perinatal Society of Nepal & Chair, SAF Nepal Dr. Kasturi Malla, Director Thapathali Maternity Hospital.

As a part of the celebration of the 47th auspicious anniversary of this premier Thapathali Maternity Hospital, we are pleased to report on a successful public-private initiative towards providing skilled maternity care to the poorest women in the country.

It is about realizing the evidence-based need for placing skilled birth attendant at every birth, especially in rural communities. For 90% of maternal deaths occur in rural areas (1). These women dying of complications of childbirth have no access to any kind of skilled maternity care. Because most of our rural and remote areas are devoid of skilled birth attendants. In this regard, Madanjeet Singh ANM Scholarships from the South Asia Foundation (SAF) has shown a bright ray of hope towards ensuring skilled care at every pregnancy in districts with lowest human development index (HDI).

A total of 50 Madanjeet Scholarships donated by the South Asia Foundation have been implemented through a committed partnership among the South Asia Foundation, Nepal chapter, Poverty Alleviation Fund of Nepal, the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) and the Thapathali Maternity Hospital.

Selection of the candidates were done according to the existing criteria set by the Health Ministry and CTEVT, but also by superimposing SAF affirmative criteria for ethnic groups like Dalit and Janajati.

A total of 50 qualified women from Siraba, Rameshap, Kapilvastu, Mugu, Piyuthan, and Darchula were recruited and placed at the Jiri Technical School. Currently, they are undergoing midwifery training at the Thapathali Maternity Hospital, Kathmandu. 80% of these ANM students are from the Dalit and Janajati ethnic groups. Soon they will complete their ANM training and return to their respective communities. And set up maternal and child health services as a self-employment venture.

To this effect, we appeal to all the individuals and institutions from within and outside the country, with shared concerns for precarious plight of mothers and their babies in rural and remote areas, to encourage these young ANMs with some seed grant to jump-start their services as self-employment opportunity in their communities.

Although the above initiative is small, but it carries the evidence-based seed that could potentially grow into a robust tree providing skilled care to every pregnancy and at every birth, especially in rural areas where 90% maternal deaths occur.

(1) Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Study, FMG, MOH, 1998.