Every June 24, Indonesia celebrates National Midwife Day. This momentum is also a celebration of the founding of the Indonesian Midwives Association (called IBI) on June 24, 1951. Reporting from ibi.or.id, IBI is a professional organization for midwives in Indonesia. A forum for midwives to achieve their goals through policies to increase the professionalism of members to ensure that the community gets quality services. In addition, National Midwife Day is also used as a benchmark for improving the quality of midwives. As one of the main partners of the family, especially mothers and children, the midwife has a very important role.
“Follow the Data: Invest in Midwives” is a theme that was raised internationally this year and suits our national context. The role of midwives is very important: starting from promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative matters. We should inevitably invest a lot in midwives. Moreover, they are recognized as responsible health professionals who work in partnership with women in providing a continuum of care. Midwives have an important role in increasing women’s access to quality midwifery services which are the focus of global efforts including Indonesia to realize the right of every woman to obtain the best health services during pregnancy, childbirth, and women’s reproductive health including family planning also infants and toddlers.
Especially during the pandemic, midwives are at the forefront of ensuring quality health services. Furthermore, even in stressful situations, midwives play an important role in ensuring that mothers and children achieve integrative health. One practical action FMCH Indonesia did to invest in midwives is through the Happy Pregnancy Class project. This program is designed for pregnant women that we assist based on the curriculum model that we have developed and implemented by the midwives as our partners as well. We have implemented this program since 2014 located in Timor Tengah Selatan Regency, Nusa Tenggara Timur. More than 600 pregnant women have joined and have had a tremendous impact on their babies and families.
The impacts of the program so far, among others, (1) the number of antenatal care has increased from 91.3% to 94.2%, (2) 98,6% of mothers admitted that they had taken iron tablets during pregnancy, (3) 58% mothers gave birth at Puskesmas (health care system in sub-village), (4) 67% of mothers have given exclusive breastfeeding for their babies (FMCH Indonesia, 2017)
Besides pregnant women as our direct beneficiaries, we are targeting midwives. Through this program, we invest in them by assisting and guiding them to become competent midwives. In addition, through Pregnancy Care FMCH Indonesia’s unit, the midwives we assist are provided with training to increase the productivity of midwives, add skills, sharpen the skills they already have, and provide the latest information about midwifery and pregnancy. Some of the materials provided include the mental health of pregnant women, safe delivery, and breastfeeding.
In addition, another support that we provide is intensive for our midwives. This incentive is an attempt by us to support them financially, even though they have received remuneration through the Village Fund, but it is nothing compared to their duties and responsibilities. The provision of incentives is also a motivation for midwives while working.
In general, the income of midwives in Indonesia is still low, especially for village midwives. Therefore, we hope that the government can continue to improve the competence and welfare of midwives so that midwives can provide quality health services that are easily accessible to the entire community. With the presence of competent and prosperous midwives, the health of mothers and children who are intact will be an equal reward. Moreover, one of the things that are currently being highlighted is related to the Maternal and Infant Mortality Rate. The target of SDGs 2030 is the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) only reaches 70/100,000 KH and the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is expected to reach 12/1000 KH. In the 2020 National Health Work Meeting, the Indonesian Ministry of Health announced to maximize the context of promotive and preventive approaches as a strategy to suppress MMR and IMR. This target is challenging but does not mean it cannot be achieved.
Midwives play an important role in helping the government maximize these efforts. Therefore, it is important to invest in midwives for their important contribution to achieving complete health status for mothers and children. Also, that it’s important to say, Thank You, My Midwives, for the momentum of National Midwife’s Daya 2021. Thank you for the dedication and service you have given to this nation.
Written by: Devi Handayani, Pregnancy Care Project Officer FMCH Indonesia
Edited by: Brigita Rumung, Media and Communications Officer FMCH Indonesia