‘Doula not allowed to handle medical procedures’


Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN

INDIVIDUALS offering doula services are not allowed to handle medical procedures, the Health Minister warned.

A doula is usually a woman, typically without formal obstetric training, who is employed to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman during labour.

Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said at the moment, doula services were not registered under any association or group in the country and the type of service was also not clearly outlined.

“If they want to provide midwifery services, they need to undergo proper training with guidelines and policies that must be adhered to, ” he told Dr Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching) during Question Time.Yii had asked the ministry to explain the government’s plan to regulate doula services.

Adham said that a doula’s role was only to give emotional support to mothers throughout the process of childbirth and confinement.

They are not allowed to replace trained midwives or give medical advice, he pointed out.

Doula groups or unregistered midwives are not midwifery nurses as they are not registered under the Midwives Act 1966, Adham explained.

“Under subsection 14 (1) of the Act, any individual practising midwifery without registration shall be guilty of such an offence and can be fined RM2,000 or jailed not more than one year or both if found guilty, ” he said.

He said the ministry had taken various initiatives to improve safe childbirth including to distribute the Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s circular titled “Steps taken to increase efforts to reduce unsafe births” on March 13,2014.

Adham said for low-risk cases and mothers who chose to give birth at home, all related medical officers have been ordered to take care of the mother in line with the current standard operating procedure.

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