FACTS AND FIGURES
Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America, shares borders with the following countries: Suriname (east), Venezuela (west) and Brazil (south). To its north is the Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of 751,223 (census 2002). There are approximately 600 midwives in both the public and private health sectors who provide midwifery services in hospitals and communities. However, there is still a deficit of thirty percent (30 %) overall.The number of midwives and nurse-midwives/10,000 population is 8.0
The Midwives Association of Guyana (MAG) was formed on February 9, 2009, out of the need for midwives to take responsibility for the development of the profession and the provision of quality midwifery services. On May 6, 2009, the MAG was officially launched by Dr. Bheri Ramsarran, Hon. Minister within the Ministry of Health with the aim to to advance education in Midwifery through continuous training, the use of information and technology, safe practices and professional care to all mothers, babies and the family.
The midwifery curriculum was reviewed in 2012 to embrace ICM competencies. More of this work is required in the near future. Midwifery training in Guyana can be obtained by entering one of the three Schools of Nursing and Midwifery to pursue either the two years direct-entry programme or the one-year post-basic programme. The post-basic midwifery is available to registered nurses and nursing assistants while recruits for the direct-entry programme are secondary school leavers, Community Health Workers (CHWs) or Patient Care Assistants (PCAs). Cost of training is provided by the Government of Guyana. Registered nurses and nursing assistants from the private hospitals access training through sponsorship by their institutions. Direct-entry midwives have opportunities for post-education career advancement with training in professional nursing.
Midwifery tutors are very committed despite having inadequate and sometimes outdated teaching/learning materials and equipment. Upon successful completion of training midwives are registered and licensed to practice by the General Nursing Council, Guyana. Midwives have organized and conducted education sessions in seven out of ten administrative regions of Guyana.
Each year, beginning 2011, International Day of the Midwife has been observed with a ‘March’ and rally by midwives. This has helped to bring much visibility, respect and value to midwives, and helped to focus policy makers on the significant work of midwives in helping to meet MDGs 4, 5 and 6.
At this annual event outstanding midwives from the ten administrative regions are tangibly honoured for exceptional performances during the previous year.
Yearly conferences have been held which provided an environment for fostering of unity and networking and skills upgrade. Training is also provided for midwifery tutors in ALARM so that they can be equipped to teach midwifery emergency life-saving skills.
REASONS FOR JOINING ICM
The Midwives Association of Guyana has joined the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in 2012 with the goal to establish strategic alliances/network with kindred associations and gain international support in the effort to maintain “safe motherhood” in Guyana.