Today, the Birth Centre celebrates one year and 112 babies – 12 more than their goal for the first year. I caught an interview with Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald on CBC’s Up to Speed this afternoon and was dismayed (not for the first time) at how the media manages to turn even a milestone worth celebrating into an attack, claiming the money spent on the Birth Centre is hard to justify in light of the overcrowding at HSC and St. B. I thought Minister Oswald did splendidly, correcting and clarifying each negative statement and question into something confident and positive.
It’s a well-known fact that Manitoba does not have enough midwives to meet demand (lately articles have been saying that 70-75% of women seeking midwifery care are turned away due to the shortage), but I was heartened to hear that the province has hired 11 additional midwives over the last year, and Minister Oswald has said that “the number of midwives in Manitoba could double virtually overnight if the college revised its admission criteria regarding internationally trained professionals.” (see Free Press article below).
I toured the Birth Centre during its grand opening and also once attended an educational/discussion session there. It is a beautiful space that is already making a huge impact of the lives of women and families in Winnipeg not only because it’s a natural, supportive, non-clinical birth setting, but also because it offers so many other services and program of interest to a women in a wide variety of life stages. I am as confident as Minister Oswald is that the popularity and use of the centre will only grow with time.
There is an open house scheduled at the Birth Centre for November 24th from noon to 3pm. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit this amazing facility, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to do so! And I extend my sincerest congratulations to everyone involved with the birth centre for their vision and hard work – it is already paying off in spades.
Here’s some local media coverage of the anniversary. I’ll add video news clips later if available.
- Winnipeg Free Press: Oswald working to increase the number of practising midwives in Manitoba
- Global Winnipeg: Birthing Centre Celebrates 1 Year and 100 Babies
- Winnipeg Sun: Birthing centre diverting badly needed funding from St. Boniface Hospital, say Tories
- CBC Manitoba: Winnipeg’s Birth Centre marks first year
- Winnipeg Regional Health Authority: Birth Centre Celebrates 1st Anniversary