Manitoba celebrates 10 years of regulated midwifery

Construction Underway on New Midwife-run Birth Centre
 
Manitoba celebrates the 10-year anniversary of publicly funded and regulated midwifery in the province this weekend, Health Minster Theresa Oswald announced today.
 
"Our government was very proud to proclaim the Midwifery Act on June 12, 2000, and begin publicly funding midwifery services for Manitobans," said Oswald.  "Maternal and newborn care remains a priority of our government today as we continue to invest in initiatives such as the new birth centre currently under construction in south Winnipeg." 
 
The new $3.5-million birth centre located at junction of St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s roads will offer a full range of maternal and newborn services including birthing, primary prenatal, postpartum and newborn care, and breastfeeding support and education.  The birth centre will be operated by the Women’s Health Clinic and also serve as a hub for the Winnipeg region’s midwifery program. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2011.
 
"A decade of regulated midwifery in Manitoba has helped make this option more widely available to Manitoba families," said Kelly Klick, council chair of the College of Midwives of Manitoba.  "We appreciate the ongoing support of the province and look forward to building the profession in the years to come."
 
A recent report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicates Manitoba, along with Ontario and British Columbia, has the highest number of midwives per capita across the country.
 
"Supporting families as a midwife is very rewarding work," said Megan Wilton, president of Manitoba Association of Midwives. "Midwives have provided care to thousands of Manitoba families over the last 10 years and we look forward to supporting even more women in the future as services continue to expand."
 
Midwifery has been a regulated health profession in Manitoba since June 2000, after proclamation of the Midwifery Act.  The Manitoba government funds midwifery services through regional health authorities and has steadily increased the number of midwives to 45 funded midwife positions today from zero in 1999, with more than half in rural and northern areas, the minister said. In the past decade, Manitoba has made a number of investments in maternal and child health-care services including:
 
·         establishing midwifery training in northern Manitoba through the University College of the North in 2006 and recently expanding it to include a southern intake this September; 
 
·         adding 11 midwife positions last year, bringing the total funded positions to 45; 
 
·         introducing a new fertility treatment tax credit effective Oct. 1; 
 
·         redeveloping the Women’s Hospital at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg; 
 
·         expanding and redeveloping the maternity ward at the St. Boniface General Hospital; 
 
·         investing more than $1 million to implement the initiatives identified by the Maternal and Child Health-care Services Task Force including projects enhancing and strengthening both primary-care and prevention services;
 
·         renovating and expanding the birthing areas at the Ste.Anne and Bethesda hospitals;
 
·         introducing the Healthy Baby Prenatal Benefit, a program providing financial assistance for healthy nutrition during pregnancy; and
 
 ·         creating Healthy Child Manitoba, a nationally renowned model that bridges departments and governments with the community to provide programs and services to promote healthy children, in 2000.
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