Emirati midwives empowered through practicing midwifery despite cultural challenges

OBGDubai, UAE: As there are very few Emirati midwives in the UAE, it is essential to develop a sustainable workforce of Emirati midwives who are capable of supporting women in a culturally sensitive and evidence based way. In general, Emirati midwives have found the experience of practicing midwifery rewarding, despite any cultural challenges they may have faced.

According to Dr Grace Edwards, Assistant Director of Nursing, Clinical Programmes Manager, Corniche Hospital, SEHA, Abu Dhabi, UAE, “Emirati midwives have encountered instances where they have not being accepted easily into the role by their countrywomen due to the cultural barriers, and with the women being more accustomed to expatriate and non-Arab healthcare staff.”

Dr Edwards spoke about ways to encourage midwifery engagement and leadership in the UAE at the Obs-Gyne Exhibition and Congress this morning. The event continues tomorrow (31 March) at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Ms Naeema Abdulla Alali was one of first Emirati graduates from Corniche Hospital’s 18-month Bachelor of Applied Science in Midwifery program. Speaking at the Obs-Gyne Exhibition and Congress, she said it was the encouragement fromher instructor, the in-charge midwife and her family that inspired her to obtain her official training as a midwife.

“Some of the challenges we face as Emirati midwives is that new mothers can be rather shy or more familiar with non-Emirati midwives and healthcare staff. They were a little hesitant at first but some have grown to appreciate that we are experts in the field and that we have an understanding of the language, culture and customs,” says Ms Alali, who is a midwife at the Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Government healthcare institutions in the UAE are collaborating with experts in the field of midwifery, to endorse a shared model of care for women. “The objective is to recognize the midwife as the expert in normal birth and the obstetrician as the expert in complicated births, and reinforces the concept of team work and collaboration between all clinicians,” says Dr Edwards.

Organised by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, the Obs-Gyne Exhibition & Congress is the largest gathering of obstetricians and gynaecologists in the Middle East. The endeavour aims to keep women’s health professionals, both in the UAE and the region, updated on the latest technologies and medical advancements in the field.

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