Gu Jin, a deputy to China's National People's Congress (NPC), recently called for the establishment of a nationwide system issuing professional midwife certificates at this year's "Two Sessions" meetings.
Gu, who also serves as president of Peking University Shougang Hospital in Beijing, suggested the Maternal and Child Health Law should add a provision stipulating midwives' professional status.
Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for mother and child care, ever since China relaxed its family planning policy, Gu explained.
Earlier this year at a seminar in Tsinghua University, Gu highlighted a report detailing the conditions of midwives after a team conducted a nationwide survey.
The report indicated that there is a national shortage of qualified midwives; currently working staff undertake less-advanced midwifery degrees; and, midwifery training courses are inadequate.
Most of all, China has not established an entire and independent career certification mechanism for midwives so far, Gu pointed out.
The qualification system that many countries have developed has proved to be one of the most successful ways to attract and foster elite specialists.
In comparison, China's current State-run nursing qualification system only involves midwifery training in general, rather than as a special focus.
However, the system has no clear boundaries for nursing and medical care, thus affecting the development of the industry in reality, Gu added.
"The biggest concern is the nation has not issued professional practice laws and regulations applicable to midwives, as doctors and nurses already have theirs," he said.
"A latest survey reveals that high practice risk is the main reason for midwives who resign from their posts."
Gu Jin submitted the following suggestions:
The NPC's Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee should take the lead in amending the nation's Maternal and Child Health Law by adding a specific provision about midwives' qualifications and job responsibilities.
The revised law would need approval from NPC deputies and officials from National Health and Family Planning Commission, and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Clear provisions about midwives' rights and tasks, especially in cases of emergency, can help ensure safety in the practice, Gu concluded.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)