Docs back midwives; technical Committee to settle dispute over labour room duties

By Don Asoka Wijewardena

 Minister Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a Technical Committee to settle the on-going dispute between nurses and midwives over labour room duty.

Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya yesterday said that on behalf of the GMOA he had met Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena last week and explained to him that nursing and midwifery were two different disciplines.

He said that Sri Lanka had been able to maintain sound infant and maternal mortality rates for many decades due to services provided by the midwives. The midwifery care in Sri Lanka was on par with that in advanced countries, he said.

The midwifery service in Sri Lanka was cost-effective in comparison to other countries, Dr. Padeniya said. Some nursing trade unions were trying to stop the services provided by the midwives in labour rooms. It was an injustice meted out to midwives, he said.

Minister Sirisena had, following talks with him over the issue, instructed Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka to stop midwifery training for nurses, he said. Minister Sirisena had also appointed a technical committee to solve the problem, the GMOA President added.

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