Midwifery walk to be an annual event

Kamloops This Week

Kamloops area midwives led a walk in Valleyview on Thursday, May 5, to raise awareness about the importance of midwives and to demonstrate the demand for them in local rural communities.

Midwives, mothers and advocates from across B.C. participated in similar walks in conjunction with B.C. Midwives Day and International Day of the Midwife.

This was the first time Kamloops areas midwives participated in the walk.

“Some rural communities have maternal and newborn care that is comparable to Third–World nations,” said Joanna Nemrava, a registered midwife who is head of the Department of Midwifery at Royal Inland Hospital and vice-president of the Canadian Association of Midwives.

Nemrava and two other Kamloops midwives — Elaine Barnes and Rosalynd Curry — led the walk from Ralph Bell elementary to the Valleyview Community Hall.

“Kamloops midwives travel to Merritt, Barriere, Ashcroft and Falkland,” Nemrava said.  “We’ve had someone travel here from as far as Bella Coola to see a midwife.”

Nemrava explained how midwives produce better maternity health care.

“We know their health-care history, their values and offer a personal approach,” Nemrava said.  “It’s women-centred care.”

B.C. midwives are university-educated,  publicly funded and regulated health-care providers who offer full prenatal, postpartum and newborn care, with the option of receiving care at home or at Royal Inland Hospital.

They also provide culturally versatile care to recent immigrants and First Nations mothers.

There are 200 registered midwives in B.C. who deliver more than 10 per cent of the 40,000 babies born annually in the province.

“A lot of people don’t know that it’s covered by B.C. Medical,” Nemrava said.

International Day of the Midwife is held in more than 50 countries.

The walk will now be held annually on May 5.