Tunis, Tunisia (PANA) - Midwives in Tunisia feel they are being short-changed by the authorities.
And they believe they have every reason to think that way, as their compensation is inadequate. After all, they are considered technicians in gynaecology in the North African country with a massive increase in responsibilities since the adoption in 1968 of the family planning policy.
Now, the president of the Association of Midwives, Ms. Radhia Kahlaoui, believes the Tunisian revolution of 14 January has hopes for the adoption of the draft statute prepared by the Association three years ago, but which was rejected by the ministry, because it claimed this would also require the provision of special status to the other 18 categories of higher technicians in the country.
Ms. Kahlaoui describes this position as "injustice" as the current status unfairly confuses the Tunisian midwife with other specialized professions in health, either directly or indirectly unrelated to midwives in the public sector who perform some 32,000 births a year, 523,000 antenatal and 98,000 postnatal consultations. These are in addition to family planning activities.
Further, the midwives run 80% of consultations for pregnant women and deliver babies, perform screening for risk pregnancies, precancerous lesions of the cervix and uterus breast cancer, take care of prevention of pregnancy and childbirth related disability as well as diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
The Association considers that the available manpower is insufficient, in terms of population estimates of some 12 million people.
In fact, Tunisia has 1,800 midwives in the public sector, which has 110 outlying maternity homes, 32 regional maternity homes, 1,950 basic health centres in addition to family planning clinics, while 300 others are affiliated with the private sector and in private practices. There are also 600 to 700 unemployed midwives.
Certainly for Mrs. Kahlaoui, the Tunisian authorities have made efforts to train midwives.
However, she deplores the mismanagement of the workforce, which is the centrepiece of the country's health system, in terms of its mission to reduce mortality and maternal and child morbidity, in particular.
-0- PANA SSB/CEA/MA 22June2011