Thursday, May 30, 2024

International Day of the Midwife: Delivery with a difference at Basildon Hospital

MIDWIFERY is a role more often associated with women, however Basildon Hospital which serves the Thurrock community, is home to four male midwives.

As part of International Day of the Midwife (Sunday, 5 May) – which celebrates midwives we caught up with Howard Katyamba, who graduated as a midwife in Zambia, Southern Africa, seven years ago.

It’s almost 50 years since men were first allowed to train as midwives in the UK, but with less than 200 male midwives across the country, they still only make up a tiny proportion of the profession.

When asked about his motivation for going into midwifery, Howard, who has worked at Basildon Hospital since 2022, said: “When I first began studying nursing I did a combination of nursing and midwifery and fell in love with midwifery during my training period and haven’t looked back since.

“I love what I do. The smiles I share with families I care for are irreplaceable. This is a defining moment in their lives, I’m just so incredibly proud to play this part in their important, unfolding life story. It is a huge privilege to be a midwife.”

Howard explained that many of the women and birthing partners who he met were initially surprised to see a male midwife, but after involving partners, talking and sharing of knowledge they were soon put at ease and were getting very best care possible.

New mum, Alexandra Gliga, who gave birth at Basildon was supported by Howard as her midwife, said: “Having a male midwife was a positive surprise! Howard was incredibly professional, supportive, and put me at ease throughout the entire birth process.

“His gender never played a role; his skill and compassion were what mattered most. Howard explained everything to me so that I could understand and I feel nothing but very comfortable and safe.”

As a male midwife, Howard was initially worried about fitting in, but his experience has been overwhelmingly positive. He said: “I’ve had an opportunity of learning from the best midwives at Basildon Teaching Hospital. Everyone has been incredibly supportive, they have an unquenchable, selfless spirit, and they constantly strive to offer the best care possible and I’m proud to be a part of that team.”

Deborah Goldsmith, Director of Midwifery at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Male midwives offer a unique and important perspective to our maternity services and we are thrilled to have Howard as part of our midwifery team, his

international experience and perspective are invaluable assets and his passion for patient care is truly inspiring.”

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