READY TO SERVE. The 163 midwives who will serve in the barangays of Maguindanao flash the “thumbs up” sign before their deployment on Saturday (Nov. 21, 2020). Hired under the Midwife in Every Community Project, they will be fielded in the province’s 36 municipalities. (Photo courtesy of MOH-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Some 163 new midwives were deployed on Saturday to the 36 towns of Maguindanao to expand health services in these communities.

Dr. Amirel Usman, acting health minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said the newly appointed midwives form part of the Midwife in Every Community in BARMM (MECBA) project.

On Friday, the midwives were officially appointed and oriented by Maguindanao health officials as to their respective assignments in the communities.

“This is to emphasize the importance of health workers in rendering quality health services in the BARMM communities,” Usman said.

In the past, more than half of the midwives were serving under casual, contractual, and job order employment status.

“Many of you have been risking your lives as front-liners despite your employment status. Now you have your appointment, we are happy for you,” Usman told the midwives who have been in the forefront amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The MECBA health workers’ appointment, which was retroactive to January 2, was delayed due to Covid-19.

In an online message, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said medical services are one of the priority programs of the regional government to address the needs of its communities.

“You have already shown your dedication to help uplift the standards of our medical care to our constituents. As midwives, you will become living ambassadors of our sealed vision for health care in the region,” Ebrahim said, adding that more health care workers, including midwives, would be deployed across the region.

The BARMM has administrative control over the provinces of Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, and Sulu, and the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi. (PNA)