Birth & Midwifery in Pakistan
Resources for parents and practitioners

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Birth Situation Room Report

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Imtiaz Kamal and Asma Zubair

photo of Imtiaz Kamal by Altamash KamalImtiaz Kamal, known as Pakistan’s grandmother of midwifery, directs her efforts to promoting the midwifery profession in Pakistan. Imtiaz has worked with WHO as a midwife consultant, developing midwifery curriculum, training midwives and midwifery teachers and developing teaching and learning materials for the study of midwifery. She is also secretary general of the National Committee for Maternal Health (NCMH), vice president of the Maternity and Child Welfare Association of Pakistan (MCWAP) and president of MCWAP’s Sindh Chapter.

Imtiaz has worked as a midwife in Pakistan for 50 years and says that she has lead a one-woman crusade for the promotion of midwifery as a modality separate from nursing, which is only now beginning to show fruit. Currently she is working to develop regulatory mechanisms for the practice of midwifery in Pakistan as none have existed to date. She is also working on the development of a curriculum for domiciliary midwives. Imtiaz received her midwifery training in the UK and pursued a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. She has worked in more than 50 countries through various UN organizations in the field of maternal and child health.

Asma Zubair lives near Lahore, Pakistan. She is a student nurse in her fourth (final) year, being trained in midwifery. Asma tells us: “I have passion to be expert at midwifery. Actually, Midwifery Today has been an inspiration for me. You do not know but it has helped me a great deal. It would be a great pleasure for me if I could do something for the mothers and babies of our world.”

Birth/Midwifery

  • Midwifery Association of Pakistan—e-mail address: midwifepak@yahoo.com “We want people from all walks of life to support Midwifery Association of Pakistan because mothers cannot be saved by midwives alone. We believe that maternal and neonatal deaths are not a medical problem only. Also, for the midwives to work in a community, they need all kinds of support and linkages. We want our membership to reflect that. Only midwives will be full-fledged voting members of MAP because it is a professional organisation of midwives. People from other walks of life may work on different committees and help and guide the organisation.”—Imtiaz Kamal

Update on Pakistan [September 2008]

After half a century of a “One woman crusade,” the Midwifery Association of Pakistan (MAP) was established in February 2005. It got registered in Pakistan in 2006 and became a member of ICM in 2007. A dream come true. Even though it is less than three years old it has made a lot of progress. It has been represented in two international conferences: The international Forum for Midwifery in Tunisia in December 2006 and in Women Deliver in London in 2007.

Mission: to contribute to the reduction of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in Pakistan by providing skilled care to women during the entire maternity cycle irrespective of the place of delivery.

The justification for creating MAP was that 80% of the deliveries are conducted at home by untrained personnel. In developed countries 80% of the deliveries are conducted by midwives. Pakistani midwife also want to play the same role for women of her country.

There are more than 350 members, including nurse-midwives, midwives and health visitors from all over Pakistan.

Midwifery Association of Pakistan [July 2007]

Development of the Midwifery Association of Pakistan (MAP) is progressing well. A few doctors have applied for the membership.

MAP will have three types of members: (1) The regular paid and voting members, i.e., annual or for five years or life members. They must be licensed midwives; (2) Honorary members, who will be awarded membership because they have proven by deeds their commitment to the promotion of midwifery in Pakistan; and (3) Supporters of midwifery, individuals who request membership and promise to make a contribution to advance the profession of midwifery. They can graduate to Honorary membership after they have proved their worth. If they do nothing they can be dropped after three years.

Categories 2 and 3 do not have to be licensed midwives, e.g., a very famous journalist/philanthropist is building a midwifery school in Pakistan. This will be the first ever school in Pakistan built specifically for midwifery training. He has been awarded Honorary membership.

We want people from all walks of life to support MAP because mothers cannot be saved by midwives alone. We believe that maternal and neonatal deaths are not a medical problem only.

Also, for the midwives to work in a community, they need all kinds of support and linkages. We want our membership to reflect that.

Only midwives will be full-fledged voting members of MAP because it is a professional organisation of midwives. People from other walks of life may work on different committees and help and guide the organisation.

Imtiaz Kamal
Midwifery Today Country Contact for Pakistan