The Midwives Ordinance of Palestine, 1929: Historical Perspectives and Current Lessons
Nurs Inq 2010; 17(2):165-72
Posted: 26 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 25, 2013
Until 1929, midwifery in Palestine was relatively open to anyone and only partially regulated by the 1918 Public Health Ordinance, legislated shortly after the beginning of British rule. This article describes the factors that guided the shaping of midwifery and suggests possible sources of inspiration for the British legislator in crafting the Midwives Ordinance in 1929, including American, local (Jews and Arabs), and British ones. The Midwives Ordinance reflects the adjustment of midwifery to changes in the society that evolved under the British Mandate. The ordinance shows how the modern midwife’s role contracted relative to the traditional one, in the context of social processes in other countries, east and west. This historical research project is based on interviews, archive documents and research literature. It analyzes the British interests in regulating midwifery, including the rationale of preserving public health and reducing infant mortality, against a background of political power struggles as well as cultural, social and professional diversity in Palestine (the tensions between the powers of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists).
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