The Ministry of Health has stopped the recruitment of male comprehensive nurses as midwives at district level on grounds that it is against medical practices.
Some district service commissions in the country had started recruitment of comprehensive nurses, including males, to work as midwives.
In a September 6 letter, Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, said they held an inter-ministerial committee meeting that resolved to stop such recruitment.
“This is unacceptable and must stop forthwith because it contravenes professional medical practice in the country.
Those already recruited must be re-designated immediately to positions that suit their qualifications and experience,” Dr Atwine said.
Dr Atwine requested the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government to ensure the accounting officers at the district level comply with the directives.
According to the Ministry of Health directive, the female comprehensive nurses, who want to be recruited as midwives, will also be affected.
“The purpose of this circular, therefore, is to direct you to stop recruiting comprehensive nurses to work as midwives with immediate effect,” she wrote.
The Nurses and Midwives Act Statutory Instrument 274–1 describes a certified midwife as female.
The law indicates that “a person shall be entitled to be enroled as a certificated midwife – in the case of a person already enroled as a certified nurse – if she passes the midwifery final examination, taken after the completion of a training period of not less than 12 months.”
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said there is a process of phasing out comprehensive nursing because there is need to have health workers who either specialise in nursing or midwifery.
“We are now moving towards strengthening nursing care, which requires people to be grounded in practical nursing work. What we witnessed is that comprehensive nurses are into administration and some of them need to get further skilling either to become midwives or enroled nurses,” Mr Ainebyoona said.
Mr Ainebyoona said the process of phasing out comprehensive nurses will be gradual.
The comprehensive nurses have been working at health facilities at parish level.