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Current situation of midwives in indonesia: Evidence from 3 districts in West Java Province

Peter Heywood1*, Nida P Harahap2, Mimin Ratminah3 and Elmiati4

Author Affiliations

1 Menzies Center for Health Policy, University of Sydney, Australia

2 Jalan Bukit Dago Selatan, Bandung, West Java Province, Indonesia

3 Jalan Pratista Raya, Amtapami, Bandung, West Java Province, Indonesia

4 Elmiati, Politeknik Kesehatan, Departemen Kesehatan, Bandung, West Java Province, Indonesia

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:287  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-287

Published: 8 November 2010



The village midwife is a central element of Indonesia's strategy to improve maternal and child health and family planning services. Recently there has been concern that the midwives were not present in the villages to which they had been assigned. To determine the extent to which this was the case we conducted a field-based census and survey of village midwives in three districts in West Java Province, Indonesia.


In June 2009 we interviewed a random sample of village midwives from three districts - Ciamis, Garut and Sukabumi - in West Java Province. Trained interviewers visited all villages represented in the sample to interview the midwives. We also obtained information about the midwives and their professional activities in the last year.

Thirty percent of village midwives had moved to another location in the 12 months between the end of 2008, when the sampling frame was constructed, and December 2009 when the survey was conducted; most had moved to a government health center or another village. Of those who were present, there was considerable variation between districts in age distribution and qualifications. The total number of services provided was modest, also with considerable variation between districts. The median number of deliveries assisted in the last year was 64; the amount and mix of family planning services provided varied between districts and were dominated by temporary methods.


Compared to an earlier survey in an adjacent province, the village midwives in these three districts were younger, had spent less time in the village and a higher proportion were permanent civil servants. A high proportion had moved in the previous year with most moving to a health center or another village. The decision to move, as well as the mix of services offered, seems to be largely driven by opportunities to increase their private practice income. These opportunities are greater in urban areas. As urbanization procedes the forces drawing village midwives away from the village are certain to strengthen. This will require a reassessment of the original service model embodied in the village midwife concept and a new approach to reducing maternal mortality.