THE Fiji National University's College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences will redevelop its midwifery program in a bid to address the shortage of midwives in the country.
The Fiji Times in a story last month highlighted that Fiji's largest referral centre the Colonial War Memorial Hospital had a shortage of midwives.
College dean Prof Ian Rouse said they were not satisfied with the current program and were looking at redeveloping it into a high quality post-gradguate Diploma in Midwifery.
Prof Rouse said over the past few years, the college had increased the number of midwifery students to 50 per year.
"We have added additional tutors and are up skilling our staff to postgraduate level in midwifery," Prof Rouse said.
He said they had already supported one staff member to complete a Masters qualification and had another staff member overseas.
Prof Rouse said he believed there was a shortage of midwives in Fiji although it was not as big a problem as in some other countries.
"It is clear that in some key centres, we are short. CWMH faces particular challenges due to the number of deliveries."
He said having adequate, well-trained midwives was critical to improved maternal health in Fiji.
The FNU head of department midwifery Tres Misau said there was a need to gather basic statistics on the causes of midwife shortage in the country.
He said the statistics would help identify the areas needing attention.
The CWMH maternity unit had earlier revealed that in a shift of eight births, they only had two specialised midwives to look after the deliveries.
A total of 8216 babies were delivered at the CWMH last year.
For last month alone, the hospital recorded 659 deliveries.