Cyprus has since 2010 had one of the highest percentages of caesarean births in the world with as many as 51% of newborns coming into the world this way.
In his address at the start of the ‘Campaign for the Promotion and Support of Natural Labour 2014-2015’ yesterday, Health Minister Philippos Patsalis said according to the World Health Organisation caesareans should under normal circumstances not make up more than between 12-15% of a country’s births.
On the occasion of International Midwife Day yesterday, Patsalis said he considered reducing the number of unnecessary caesareans to be one of Cyprus’ obligations towards reaching WHO targets.
“The Health Ministry, with the Nursing Services Directorate acting as coordinator, aims to continue developing and making proper use of midwife staff, to modernise the services offered to pregnant women and their families, and, as an extension, improve the quality of the midwife care offered,” Patsalis said.
The minister said plans include more ‘care in the community’ for low-risk pregnancies through “a flexible system of services with priority on keeping the woman informed, accepting pregnancy as a natural occurrence in her life, and getting ongoing care from the same health professional”.
Plans also include incorporating a midwife suggestion for the creation of ‘natural birth rooms’ in maternity wards.
Patsalis said achievements made in cooperation with midwives over the last few years included the development of a national strategy promoting breastfeeding and the creation of a protocol on midwife practices.
He said thousands of women and babies around the world died every year during pregnancy or labour, most often because of haemorrhaging, infections and puerperal septicaemia and toxaemia (MMA syndrome.)
“Some 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries where the presence of a midwife is almost non-existent.
“So, it is quite right that the WHO considers midwives to have a key role in reaching the millennium targets for the safety of motherhood and the reduction of illness and mother and newborn mortality around the world,” he said.