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Aboriginal Midwifery Education Program (AMEP)

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Aboriginal Envelope - Health System Enhancement Care

Lead and Partner Organization(s) :

Manitoba Health; with Burntwood Regional Health Authority; College of Midwives of Manitoba; First Nations and Inuit Health Branch; Health Canada; Kagike Danikobidan; Manitoba Advanced Education and Training; NOR-MAN Regional Health Authority; Norway House Cree Nation; University College of the North

Approved Contribution :


Summary :

Due to the shortage of care providers and lack of services in northern Manitoba, most pregnant women north of the 53rd parallel must leave their communities and families several weeks prior to their due date. This costly practice is hard on them, their families, the community and on the health care system. Manitoba Health believes that regulated midwifery is a key strategy to address the shortage of qualified maternity care providers in its province and elsewhere. Hence, the creation of the Aboriginal Midwifery Education Program, the overall goal of which was “to establish a comprehensive and sustainable midwifery program in Manitoba that reflects a blend of traditional Aboriginal and western methods of practice, and the necessary support systems, for persons of Aboriginal ancestry.” To develop this program, Manitoba Health engaged in extensive consultations with Aboriginal communities in order to: get input into the program’s content and teaching methodologies; learn from Elders about traditions and practices that should be incorporated; obtain community and political support; identify suitable teaching sites; and recruit potential students. It also consulted with experts in Aboriginal education and learning and received advice on reviewing and adapting existing models of successful curricula to reflect an Aboriginal focus. The result is The Bachelor of Midwifery Program, “Kanaci Otinowawosowin Baccalaureate Program,” which means “sacred midwifery” in Cree. It is being delivered as of September 2006 at University College of the North. Upon graduation, students will be eligible to apply for registration with the College of Midwives of Manitoba as a practising midwife. Through this program, Manitoba Health and its partners hope to increase health human resources in the North and improve maternal and child health through community-based, consistent and cost-effective quality care. Beyond this, they hope that this program will boost Aboriginals’ pride in their traditions, assist with reclaiming traditional knowledge and self-respect within communities, and ultimately aid in returning the birth experience to the community. The website New window amep offers information on this ambitious initiative.

This initiative was supported by the Primary Health Care Transition Fund. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the federal government. The above information was prepared on the basis of the initiative’s final report, in consultation with its author.