New midwifery programme in UAE has community focus and is 'designed to meet international standards'.

A first bachelor's programme in midwifery, including a focus on community-based work, has been launched in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to help reduce a shortage of qualified midwives. Dubai Women's College started the programme on March 1 with 24 registered nurses enrolled. The students are receiving theoretical and practical training in maternal, fetal and infant care. As well as being qualified to work in hospitals and clinics, they will be able work in communities and make home visits.

The move is a bid to boost recognition of midwifery. The year-long postgraduate course will be open to experienced national and Arab nurses. The postgraduate course will be funded by Department of Health and Medicine Services (DoHMS) and will be run in conjunction with Dubai Women's College. It is also expected to be accredited by an Australian University.

In September, two bachelor's courses in midwifery and nursing are to begin, which will last up to five years. Graduates would be qualified both as nurses and midwives.

Judi Brown, director of nursing at the DoHMS, and former Director of the ICM Board, said: "It is exciting because this is the first time that Dubai has established a programme specifically for midwifery. In the long term, we would like an undergraduate midwifery programme that will take three years and be direct entry."

Dr Kay Dahya, who heads the health sciences department at the college, said the programme would...

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