Uproar over GMOA trying to taboo midwifery subject for nurses

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Nurses are up in arms following GMOA Media Spokesman Dr. Naveen de Soysa stressing that nurses should not be trained or get involved in the midwifery services of the labour room.

Chairman of the Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA), Saman Ratnapriya yesterday accused the Government Medical Officers’ Association of attempting to create a rift between nurses and midwives. Ratnapriya claimed that the powerful doctors’ union had also slandered the nursing service with the claim that nurses should not involve themselves in midwifery services.

Nurses received a training of four years inclusive of midwifery. However midwives were those who only had two years of training. "Who would the public trust and value more," he queried.   

Ratnapriya said midwifery services were rendered by nurses who had been trained for four years while those involved in Community nursing were those who had received training for over 5 ½ years.

Chairman of the All Ceylon Nurses’ Union (ACNU) accused the leaders of the GMOA of shameful behavior towards another trade union in the health service. ACNU Chairman, Gamini Kumarasinghe alleged that it was disgraceful behaviour on the part of the GMOA which represented an intellectual section of society to protest against furthering the training of another service in the health sector.

The GMOA remained mum in face of several problems faced by medical officers. They maintained silence regarding the gradually decreasing allocations to the government health service from the gross domestic income. Instead it was interested only in pandering to the whims and fancies of the government’s schemes, an enraged Kumarasinghe said.

Chief of the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU), Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera said that nurses had won one of their demands by gaining approval for a midwifery training following a three year training course in nursing. He said that the PSUNU had discussed several issues with Health Minister, Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday (09) and that instructions had been issued to health ministry officials to implement the additional training for nurses. 

Meanwhile Media Spokesman of the GMOA, Dr. Naveen de Soysa, when contacted condemned steps taken by nurses’ training schools to conduct six month midwifery training. Nurses who had completed their training should be absorbed into the service. Instead they were given an additional training of six months in midwifery, he said.

The service rendered by midwives in labour rooms had resulted in the drop in the maternal and infant mortality rates. However there had been complications reported in several cases where nurses had performed midwifery duties.

The GMOA had no issues with the development of the nursing service. But it does not mean that they should grab the services and duties performed by another group of employees in the health service to develop themselves.  It would destroy not only the midwifery service but the nursing service as well, he said.

The GMOA spokesman warned however that the doctors would not take responsibility for any complications which arose under the new setup.

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