Despite many programs related to women’s health, including those promoting institutional deliveries, safe motherhood, capacity building of skilled birth attendants, etc., Nepal’s maternal mortality rate has not seen significant improvement within the last five years, going from 281 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 to 258 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016 (NDHS, 2016). Although government and NGO programs have helped reduce the maternal mortality rate, the target for 2017, i.e. the Second Long-Term Health Plan (1997-2017) goal of no more than 250 deaths per 100,000 live births, was not achieved. Nepal’s infant mortality rate has also improved somewhat, going from 46 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 32 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016. The neonatal mortality rate is still high as well: 21 deaths per 1,000 live births (NDHS, 2016).
Nepal’s government has realized that increasing the number of specialized health professionals, such as qualified midwives, is essential to reducing the country’s high maternal and neonatal mortality rates. After holding hundreds of workshops and seeking help from external development partners, the government of Nepal has successfully launched a Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program at two well-respected Nepali institutions: The National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) and Kathmandu University (KU).
The Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program was developed and continues to be supported by a consortium of partners, including the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and Real Medicine Foundation (RMF). The implementing organizations are the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) and Kathmandu University (KU). The consortium functions to ensure support of every aspect of the BMS program without duplication of efforts, working together to build strong cadres of qualified midwives to reduce mortality and morbidity rates among mothers and newborns.
To this end, RMF is currently supporting the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) in its implementation of the program. RMF had committed to support NAMS with a midwifery skills lab, faculty training, and education materials. RMF was asked to provide cupboards and display shelves for the skills lab, and thus far, we have provided 13 display shelves for the skills lab, 2 large display cupboards for the library, and a 12-door, steel locker for students’ use at the Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Thapathali, Kathmandu.
On June 26th, 2017, Real Medicine Foundation Nepal organized a small ceremony for the handover of support materials provided for the Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program at the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), Bir Hospital Nursing Campus. NAMS officials, professors, and students were very happy to receive the support materials.
The ceremony was held on the premises of Bir Hospital Nursing Campus (BHNC), which operates a nursing program, as well as the midwifery program for NAMS. Bir Hospital dignitaries in attendance included the nursing director, Associate Professor Roshani Tuitui, and nursing administrator, Associate Professor Bandana Thapa. Along with these dignitaries, the administrative staff and faculties of Bir Hospital Nursing Campus and Bir Hospital attended the ceremony. Altogether, 70 people attended the ceremony, among them RMF Nepal’s team.
Bir Hospital nursing administrator, Associate Professor Bandana Thapa, was the master of ceremonies for the event. She opened the ceremony by inviting the dignitaries on stage: NAMS Vice Chancellor Ganesh Bahadur Gurung, NAMS Dean Dr. Yan Chandra Shiwakoti, Assistant Dean Goma Niraula, Associate Professor Dr. Piyush Dahal, Bir Hospital Campus Chief Pramila Dewan, and RMF Program Manager Ganesh Kumar Shrestha. Campus Chief Pramila Dewan welcomed all the participants and expressed her heartfelt gratefulness to Real Medicine Foundation, as she and her team have greatly benefitted from the support RMF has provided for the efficient arrangement of the midwifery skills lab.
Mr. Shrestha provided a brief introduction about the birth of Real Medicine Foundation and explained that the organization has been working in 21 other countries around the world. He emphasized that RMF is committed to helping people through the highs and lows and empowering them to help themselves and others, thus liberating human potential. Because this is a new program in health education, we felt it was also important to hear about students’ experience. Rukmini Tripathi, a student in the BMS program, shared her overall experience.
During the ceremony, RMF announced that a full scholarship would be awarded to a deserving candidate studying in the Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program. The students were awed and excited to hear this news. RMF is currently in the process of selecting a candidate to receive the scholarship. RMF Program Manager Ganesh Shrestha also handed over the keys for the midwifery skills lab to the Vice Chancellor of NAMS and handed over a comprehensive model to demonstrate and practice birthing and management of postpartum hemorrhage to Pramila Dewan, Campus Chief of NAMS BHNC.
NAMS Vice Chancellor Dr. Ganesh Bahadur Gurung offered concluding remarks to close out the ceremony. He stated that being a pioneer institution for the Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program had made a dream come true for the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS). He acknowledged that there is still a lot to be accomplished for the smooth running of the program and stated that the school is always dedicated to improving the level of learning and teaching. He further reassured the students that challenges are a part of academic endeavors and being the first students of the program, they are making history in the field of health and midwifery in Nepal.
Upon completion of the formal ceremony, all the dignitaries were led to the midwifery skills lab of NAMS BHNC, where the students practice different skills before and during their clinical tenure. The RMF-provided shelves beautifully accommodated all the equipment and demonstration materials. Then in the library, dignitaries were shown the display cupboards for the convenient placement of books. The dignitaries commented that the support NAMS Vice Chancellor Dr. Ganesh Bahadur Gurung offering concluding remarks 7 materials were indeed helpful for the arrangement of the equipment and books, providing easy and proper access, as well as safe storage.
In 2006, Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) introduced the National Policy of Skilled Birth Attendants with an aim to bring about sustainable development and reduce the mother and child mortality rates. In 2009, MOHP finalized its selection of 4 universities to pioneer midwifery education as a professionally accredited degree in Nepal. These universities are:
It was agreed that the universities would establish professional midwifery education as a separate faculty within the university and offer a bachelor’s degree in midwifery as a professionally accredited course. The curriculum would be proposed by each university to the Nepal Nursing Council (NNC) for review and finalization. The NNC would offer accreditation to the proposed curriculum only if it was confirmed to be consistent with ICM/WHO international standards.
1. Address gaps in human resources, including faculty development
2. Provide scholarships for students from underserved communities
3. Support infrastructure development: i.e. classrooms, hostel facility
4. Acquire Skills Lab/Equipment (dummy/ anatomical models)
Kathmandu, 26th July (Nagarik) – Real Medicine Foundation has handed over support and educational materials to Bir Hospital Nursing Campus, the nursing school of National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS). RMF Program Manager Ganesh Shrestha handed over the support to Prof. Dr. Ganesh Bahadur Gurung, Honorable Vice Chancellor of NAMS in a special ceremony.
In the ceremony, Dr. Gurung highlighted the fact that initiation of the Midwifery Education Program at NAMS was long awaited and involved a lot of effort from many people. He explained that quality education can bring about remarkable changes in the health status of the country and the country should make arrangements so that the produced human resources can be utilized within the country.
RMF formally started operating in Nepal in 2015 and has been contributing to rescue relief during the disaster, as well as other health-related fields. This is the first academic year for the Bachelor of Midwifery education at NAMS, and 9 students have been enrolled in the program this year.
Prof. Pramila Dewan, Campus Chief of Bir Hospital Nursing Campus appreciated the support of RMF for the smooth running of Midwifery Education Program and was convinced that RMF would collaborate with NAMS in the days to come.