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Midwifery practices to be standardised across the UAE

A recent report published by the United Nations stated that “increasing women’s access to quality midwifery services has become a focus of global efforts to realize the right of every woman to the best possible healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth.”

According to experts at the Midwifery Conference, set to take place on the 2-3 April 2012 at the Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress in Dubai, the main challenge for the UAE is the lack of a standardized model of midwifery which means that there are very different midwifery practices across the UAE. Ahead of the International Women’s Day on 8 March, the issue of maternal health is more important than ever.

For the second year, by combining the Arab Association of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Societies’ (AAOGS) annual meeting with the Obs-Gyne Congress, the largest ever gathering of obstetricians and gynaecologists the Middle East Region will take place from 1-3 April 2012 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, drawing more than 100 regional and international speakers from around the world. 

The Midwifery Conference will be chaired by Dr. Grace Edwards, Assistant Director of Nursing and Clinical Programmes Manager at the Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi. As a member of the steering group for Regulation & Licensing at the newly established Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Dr. Edwards explains the importance of the existence of a Council for the Midwifery community in the UAE.

“The NMC is pulling together key leaders from all the Emirates to agree to a standard approach to regulations, licensing, education and scopes of practice within Midwifery. This is a major breakthrough for setting standards,” she said. “There is also a recently formed Midwives section of the Emirate Nurses Association which was accepted as a full member of the International Confederation of Midwives Council in Durban in 2011. As elected Vice President of the section, I am very proud of this achievement for the UAE.”

A recent Cochrane research review (the world wide gold standard for systematic reviews) demonstrated many benefits of midwifery care compared to medical care. The main benefits were a reduction in the use of regional analgesia, fewer episiotomies, fewer instrumental births, women feeling in more control during labour, more spontaneous vaginal births and better rates of breast feeding.

“Despite this, there is a worldwide shortage of midwives,” said Dr. Edwards. “The WHO estimates that an additional 350,000 midwives are needed to care for all pregnant women.  This shortage is also evident in Abu Dhabi, where all midwives are actively recruited from abroad.”

Over 40 exhibiting companies from 10 countries will be present at the Informa Exhibitions organised event, which showcases healthcare technology and innovation from across the obs-gyne medical sector.  Top exhibiting companies include industry giants such GlaxoSmithKline, Buyer Healthcare, National Reference Laboratory and Ethicon Gynecare.

For more information on Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress, or visit