Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Few born at $3.5-million centre

College blamed for shortage of midwives in this province

  • Print

Manitoba's midwife shortage could be greatly alleviated if dozens of internationally trained professionals living here could more easily obtain accreditation.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald expressed that view while helping the city's new Birth Centre on St. Mary's Road celebrate its 100th birth on Thursday.

Manitoba has only 42 practising midwives, although health authorities have funding in place for 57. According to one estimate, the province could use 200.

At Thursday's event, Oswald faced questions about why there have been so few births -- only 112 -- at the $3.5-million Birth Centre since December. The facility had its grand opening in October 2011.

The minister said the centre has been "extremely intelligent" in its planning and its pacing, noting there are "naysayers" who don't believe in midwives and "would very much have wanted a critical incident to be proven right."

All 112 births at the centre so far have gone off without a hitch, she said. It was built to accommodate 500 a year.

Oswald said the new facility -- the only one of its kind outside Quebec -- represents a "paradigm shift" for births in Manitoba.

She said the media have failed to grasp these are early days for the facility and many people are still unaware of what it has to offer. Women who had babies during the past year would have committed themselves to a birth plan much earlier, she noted.

"It's about educating our families and our mothers-to-be about this as a choice," she said. "It will take a cultural and philosophical shift for our families to decide that this is the right option for them."

Oswald said the number of midwives practising in Manitoba could quickly double if the College of Midwives of Manitoba expedited the accreditation of foreign-trained midwives already living here.

She noted the college does not track internationally educated midwives who wish to be licensed in Manitoba.

According to provincial data, there are "roughly 56" such midwives who wish to work here, the minister said. "That would essentially double our workforce tomorrow if we could do that."

Oswald said she has been working on the issue "very aggressively" with the college, which has regulated the profession in the province since 2000.

The minister said while she understands the regulatory body must take care in ensuring only qualified professionals are licensed, she believes its processes are "more cumbersome than they need to be."

Patty Eadie, executive director of the College of Midwives of Manitoba, said her organization has been meeting frequently with Oswald's department and other stakeholders to "provide an appropriate route" for registering foreign-trained midwives.

She said the college is grappling with many of the same issues the medical and nursing professions dealt with in developing licensing procedures for foreign-trained professionals.

"We do recognize that there are internationally educated midwives in Manitoba, and we're certainly not against registering them," Eadie said.

The provincial government has come under fire for its failure to train midwives. It launched a training program at the University College of the North in 2006, but that program has yet to see a single graduate. Among its problems is a shortage of midwives with whom students can do practicums.

Lesley Hall, who attended Thursday's event with her husband Charles and four-week-old Alivia, raved about the centre.

"It's like having a baby in a five-star hotel," she said.

Alivia was the 100th baby born at the centre.

"We just decided that we wanted something that was a little bit more natural, a little bit calmer than being in the hospital," Lesley said.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 16, 2012 B1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: NDP Self-Destruction

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Would you visit Dalnavert Museum if it reopened?

View Results

Ads by Google