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$2 million needed by GNWT to expand midwifery programs

Expanding midwifery programs in the NWT will require $2 million; money the GNWT says does not exist in the budget at this time.

One of the ten recommendations in the 2017 Midwifery Stakeholder Engagement was that existing midwifery services in Hay River and Fort Smith be strengthened through ongoing financial and human resource investments to ensure sustainability of the current programs.

Minister of Health and Social Services Julie Green said they are planning for the expansion of the midwifery program in Hay River, but to implement phases 2 and 3 of the midwifery recommendations, they need more money.

Green says they have completed five out of ten recommendations found within the Engagement and will be providing an action item update on all ten recommendations in June. She did not specify which five had been completed.

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“We recognize that increased access to midwifery services will not only enhance perinatal services for NWT residents but also strengthen the delivery of culturally sensitive based primary care in our health system,” she adds.

Along with strengthening the existing Hay River and Fort Smith midwifery services, expanding services to Yellowknife, the Beaufort Delta, and Behchokǫ̀ are also recommended.

A midwifery manager was hired last year to examine how services can be expanded and a second person is set to be hired this fall.

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