The Pas and Norway House Named Training Sites for Aboriginal Midwifery Education Program

Wednesday, July 28 2010

THE PAS-The Pas and Norway House have been chosen by the University College of the North as the first two training sites for the Aboriginal Midwifery Education Program, Health Minister Tim Sale and Advanced Education and Training Minister Diane McGifford announced today.

"Through our consultations with northern communities, First Nations and regional health authorities, we know there is a desire to return birthing to communities and that there are a large number of potential Aboriginal midwifery students in the north," Sale said here today. "By choosing The Pas and Norway House as the initial sites for this innovative program, we hope to encourage area residents to take advantage of this training opportunity and stay in northern communities when they graduate."

"Our government's commitment to advancing the Northern Development Strategy includes increasing access to post-secondary education and community-based training opportunities in northern Manitoba," said McGifford. "This program will meet the needs of Aboriginal and northern students while benefiting northern residents and strengthening their home communities."

The Aboriginal Midwifery Education Program will offer training in both traditional Aboriginal and Western methods of midwifery, and will include both classroom and clinical components.=20

When midwives complete the program, they will provide culturally-appropriate birthing services primarily to remote and northern Aboriginal communities in Manitoba and Nunavut.

The training will be offered by the University College of the North (UCN) in both communities. Up to 10 students will be enrolled in the first year of the program with five students enrolled in each subsequent year. It will be a regular, full-time four-year degree program. Over the next few years, additional training sites will be established in other northern communities by UCN.

"UCN is very excited at the opportunity to offer an Aboriginal midwifery degree program that is so culturally appropriate for the north," said Tony Bos, president of UCN. "We will continue to work in partnership with our communities to provide this very important degree program."

"Services offered by midwives are an important part of community health care, helping new mothers and babies get a good start in life," said Sale. "Over the next few years, more midwives will be trained and start their practices, allowing women in northern communities to remain close to their homes and families when they give birth."

Health Canada's Primary Health Care Transition Fund has provided more than $1.6 million to develop the Aboriginal Midwifery Education Program.

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