In early 2017, SHOPS Plus trained midwifery educators in Senegal on important legal and ethical issues surrounding their profession. Midwives play a major role in combatting neonatal, infant and maternal mortality particularly because of their ability to serve hard-to-reach and underserved populations.
The project trained 50 national trainers from all 14 regions of the country over the course of two days. Topics included the current status of midwives in the country, regulatory issues, and the role of a newly formed national board in supporting the midwifery profession.
“These women [who were trained] come from all regions of Senegal and are pioneers, who will multiply the training they have received in their respective regions. This will be instrumental in improving the quality of midwives’ service provision and helping ensure access to skilled childbirth, throughout Senegal,” said Madame Mbodji, president of the National Association of Midwives in Senegal.
Midwives have faced many challenges in recent years, including the closure of private schools for midwives, underemployment, and criticism of their professional competencies within the medical community.
One of the recommendations from the Senegal Private Sector Assessment, funded by the SHOPS Plus predecessor project, was to form a board of midwives. In January 2017, a decree was passed to officially establish the national board. It is sanctioned by the Senegalese government and will help better regulate the practice and ensure that providers are in compliance with national laws and policies.