Midwife program returning to U of M next year

By | May 13, 2020

WINNIPEG — The University of Manitoba has announced that the College of Nursing will feature a bachelor’s degree program in midwifery starting in September 2021.

“We are delighted that students will now be able to stay in Manitoba to complete their midwifery education,” said Netha Dyck, dean of the College of Nursing in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, in a news release.

The college expects to see the number of registered midwives to gradually grow in the health workforce.

Ralph Eichler, the economic development and training minister, said he is happy to see this program be developed.

“The Manitoba government is proud to collaborate with the university in establishing this important program, as we work ever more closely with post-secondary institutions to align the offerings of faculties, programs and courses with the province’s needs,” he said in a news release.

The program will also focus on the need for Indigenous midwives in northern Manitoba.

There will be six students who can enter the program each year and half of those seats will be designated for Indigenous students. Traditional Indigenous midwifery practices will also be part of the program.

Organizations like the Norway House Cree Nation Health Centre of Excellence and the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives are helping develop the curriculum.

“A midwifery program integrating Indigenous content that is committed to self-determination has been the hope of Indigenous Manitoba communities for many years,” said Darlene Birch, who is a registered midwife and Metis Elder, in a news release. Birch is also a member of the team developing the Indigenous content.

The College of Midwives of Manitoba (CMM) says it is extremely happy that this program has been announced.

“Midwives provide quality prenatal, labour and delivery and postnatal to Manitoba families, and a Manitoba-based program will help to increase the number of families who can access this care,” said Janice Erickson, who is a registrar for CMM, in a statement to CTV News.

She added that CMM has always been supportive of Indigenous midwives and their ability to provide care closer to home.

Students who take the program will spend 80 per cent of the time in clinical settings. To graduate, a student must have supported 60 births, 40 of them as the primary midwife.

BRINGING THE PROGRAM BACK

The U of M originally had a midwifery program, but it was dropped by the school in 2016 because it was no longer accredited by the CMM.

At that time, there were 14 students in the program. The cuts also came as there was a shortage of midwives in the province. The Midwives Association of Manitoba said 200 midwives were in demand but there were only 52 working in the province.

-with files from CTV’s Emad Agahi

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