30 Apr 2018

Call for Pacific midwives in NZ to be paid more

10:50 am on 30 April 2018

A newly-registered Tongan midwife in New Zealand says Pacific midwives need to get paid more to better reflect the extra work they do.

Newborn baby

Photo: 123RF

Currently just over two percent of all midwives in the country are of Pacific descent but many more islanders are needed to service the fast-growing Pacific population.

Valentina Tu'itavuki​, who works for Counties Manukau Health at Middlemore Hospital, said it was much easier for a Pacific mother to deal with a Pacific midwife due to similarities in culture, language and customs.

But she said, while the workload of Pacific midwives can be very high, their take home pay did not reflect this.

"If a woman's got gestational diabetes, a midwife would have to see them more often, or send them for scans more often, as often they have bigger babies on board. But the pay is not reflecting that."

Valentina Tu'itavuki​ is one of three Tongan women who become registered midwives after recently graduating with a midwifery degree from Auckland University of Technology.

She said midwives as a collective were hopeful of a pay increase in the government's upcoming May health budget.

Fiji in desperate need of more midwives

Meanwhile, the Fiji Nursing Association said there was a need for 900 midwives in Fiji.

The association's chief nurse Silina Ledua told the Fiji Times she had raised the issue with the government continuously in the past two years because of Fiji's increasing population.

Ms Ledua said only about 20 to 30 midwives were trained every year in Fiji.