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REPUBLIC ACTS

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REPUBLIC ACT NO. 2644

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 2644 - AN ACT REGULATING MIDWIFERY TRAINING AND PRACTICE



ARTICLE I
 Title of Act

Section 1.    Title of Act. — This Act shall be known as the Philippine Midwifery Law.

ARTICLE II
The Board of Examiners for Midwives

Sec. 2.    Creation and Composition of the Board. — There is hereby created a Board of Examiners for Midwives which shall be under the direct supervision and control of the President of the Philippines. It shall be composed of a chairman, who shall be an obstetrician, and two members one of whom shall be a registered nurse-midwife appointed by the President of the Philippines, with the consent of the Commission on Appointments and upon recommendation of the Commissioner of Civil Service from among five obstetricians certified by the Association of Obstetricians or the Philippine Medical Association, for chairman, and for members, from among ten registered nurse-midwives and registered midwives in the Philippines as may be officially certified by recognized pertinent national associations of registered nurse-midwives and midwives in the Philippines.

Sec. 3.    Qualifications of the Board Members. — The chairman and the two members of the Board shall all be citizen and residents of the Philippines of good moral character and reputation, at least thirty years of age and had at least five years of successful practice prior to appointment. They shall not be members of the faculty of any school of midwifery during the year preceding their appointment, during their incumbency as members of the Board, and during the year after their terms shall have expired, nor shall they have directly or indirectly any pecuniary interest in such institutions. The Chairman must be an obstetrician. The nurse-midwife members must be registered both as a nurse and a midwife. The midwife member must be a registered midwife and preferably a holder for a college degree conferred by a duly recognized college or university.

Sec. 4.    Powers and Duties of the Board. — The Board of Examiners for Midwives is vested with authority conformably with the provisions of this Act, to issue, suspend, revoke or reissue certificates of registration for the practice of midwifery in the Philippines, and shall exercise powers conferred upon it by this Act with a view to the maintenance of an efficient, ethical, technical and moral standard in the practice of midwifery.  

The Board shall have the power to investigate violations of this Act and for this purpose, it may, under the hand of its chairman and seal of the Board, issue summons subpoena, or subpoena duces tecum to violators of this Act and witnesses thereof and to compel their attendance and the production of records and documents. The Board shall, from time to time, look into the conditions affecting the practice of midwifery in the Philippines and, whenever necessary, recommend or adopt such measures as may be deemed proper for the improvement of such practice and the vigorous enforcement of this Act.

Sec. 5.    Term of Office. — The Members of the Board shall hold office for a term of three years or until their successors shall have been appointed and duly qualified: Provided, That the chairman of the first Board of Examiners for Midwives under this Act shall hold office for three years, one member for two years and one member for one year. Any vacancy occurring within the term of a member shall be filed for the unexpired portion only. Each member of the Board shall qualify by taking the proper oath of office prior to entering upon the performance of his or her duties.

Sec. 6.    Executive Officer and Secretary of the Board. — The Commissioner of Civil Service shall be the Executive Officer of the Board. The Secretary of the Board of Examiners appointed under Republic Act Numbered Five hundred and forty-six shall also be the Secretary of the Board of Examiners for Midwives. All records and minutes of the deliberations of the Board, including examination papers, shall be kept by the Bureau of Civil Service under the direct custody of the Secretary.

Sec. 7.    Compensation of Board Members. — The members of the Board shall each receive, as compensation fee, ten pesos per capita of the candidates examined.

Sec. 8.    Removal of Board Members. — The President of the Philippines may, upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Civil Service, remove any member of the Board for continued neglect of duty or incompetency, for commission or toleration of irregularities in the examination, or for unprofessional or dishonorable conduct after having given the member concerned an opportunity to defend himself or herself in a proper administrative investigation.

Sec. 9.    Rules and Regulations. — The Board may, subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines, promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.

Section 10.    Annual Report. — The Board shall submit an annual report to the President of the Philippines after the close of each fiscal year, giving a detailed account of the proceedings of the Board, a statement of moneys received and expenses incurred, and such recommendations as the Board may desire to make.  

ARTICLE III
Examination and Registration of Midwives

Section 11.    Examination Required. — Except as otherwise permitted under Section twenty of this Act, all applicants for registration for the practice of midwifery in the Philippines shall be required to undergo an examination as required for in this Act.

Section 12.    Holding of Examinations. — Examinations for candidates desiring to practice midwifery in the Philippines shall be given by the Board on the second Tuesday of August and February of each year in Manila and in such other places as may be deemed necessary and expedient by the Commissioner of Civil Service subject to the approval of the President of the Philippines.

Section 13.    Scope of Examination. — The examination for the practice of midwifery in the Philippines shall consist of a written test, the scope of which shall include: (1) obstetrical anatomy and physiology, (2) principles of bacteriology as applied to midwifery practice, (3) obstetrics, (4) midwifery procedures, (5) domiciliary midwifery, (6) infant care and feeding, (7) community hygiene and firstd, (8) normal nutrition, and (9) ethics of midwifery practice. Examination questions must be of such types as are used in recognized schools of midwifery in the country.

Section 14.    Prerequisites and qualifications of applicants for examination. — In order to be admitted to the midwifery examination, an applicant must, at the time of filing his or her application therefor, establish to the satisfaction of the Board that he or she:

(a)    Is a citizen of the Philippines;

(b)    Is at least twenty-one years of age;

(c)    Is in good health and of good moral character;

(d)    Has finished a standard academic high school; and

(e)    Has finished a course in midwifery from an institution, accredited and legally constituted, in which the following subjects are taught: Introduction to General Anatomy and Physiology, Principles of Bacteriology, Obstetrics, Midwifery Procedures including personal hygiene and the care of patients' environment, Delivery room technique, Nursery technique and infant care and feeding, Ethics, Nutrition, Domiciliary midwifery, Community hygiene and firstd, and Mothercraft.

Section 15.    Schools of Midwifery. — To be recognized as a duly accredited and legally constituted institution for midwifery training as provided for in this Act, a school of midwifery must have a permit from the Department of Education, and be associated with, as owner or part owner, or has control of, a hospital with at least fifty beds for maternity cases, duly authorized to operate as such hospital by the Department of Health: Provided, That midwifery schools associated with, or has control of, a hospital whose bed capacity for maternity cases in over thirty but less than fifty beds may be authorized to operate if it can show that it is affiliated preferably with government hospital possessing the qualifications provided in this Act. No school of midwifery shall be authorized to operate whose hospital has less than thirty beds for maternity cases.

Such school must have a minimum ratio of trained resident staff members to maternity beds of 1:10 and a ratio of 1:12 of teaching staff members to students.

Before allowing a student to graduate, the school must satisfactorily show to the Department of Education that he or she has attended eighteen months of the course in midwifery and that during his or her training he or she has attended personally, under the authority of the staff members, at least twenty deliveries in the hospital or hospitals and at least five deliveries in its domiciliary service.  

Section 16.    Schools operating before the passage of this Act. — Midwifery schools possessing permits or recognition to operate before the approval of this Act but do not conform with the provisions thereof shall be made to conform with the provisions provided in this Act within a period of two years from the date of its approval, otherwise their permits or recognition shall automatically be deemed revoked.

Section 17.    Ratings in the Board Examination. — To be qualified as having passed the Board examination for midwives a candidate must obtain a general rating of seventy-five per cent in the written test with no grade lower than sixty per cent in Obstetrics, Infant Care and Feeding, Midwifery procedures and Domiciliary midwifery, and provided that in other subject no grade shall be lower than fifty per cent.

Section 18.    Report of Results of Examination. — The Board of Examiners for Midwives shall, within one hundred twenty days after the examination, report the ratings obtained by each candidate to the Commissioner of Civil Service.

Section 19.    Issuance of Certificate. — Certificates of Registration as midwife shall be issued to any applicant who passes the examination and upon payment of the required fees. Every certificate of registration shall, show the full name of the registrant, have serial number, bear the signatures of the members of the Board, be attested by the Secretary of the Board, and be duly authenticated by the official seal of the Board of Examiners for Midwives.

The issuance of a certificate of registration by the Board to the registrant shall be evidence that the person named therein is entitled to all rights and privileges of a registered midwife until said certificate, for just cause, is revoked temporarily or cancelled.

Sec. 20.    Registration for Nurse-Midwife. — Certificate of registration may be issued to registered nurses who pass the examination for midwives: Provided, however, That certificates of registration may be issued to nurses who show evidence to the Board of Examiners For Midwives of having actually handled twenty delivery cases as certified to by a director or chief of a duly registered or recognized hospital or by the Director of Health Services upon the recommendation of the proper city or provincial health officer.

Sec. 21.    Fees for Examination and Registration. — Applicants for examination for the practice of midwifery shall pay an examination fee of thirty pesos. Successful applicants shall pay a registration fee of fifteen pesos.

Sec. 22.    Inhibition Against Practice of Midwifery. — Unless exempt from registration, no person shall practice or offer to practice midwifery in the Philippines, as defined in this Act, without holding a valid certificate of registration as midwife issued by the Board of Examiners for Midwives.

Sec. 23.    Foreign Reciprocity. — No midwife who is a citizen, subject or national of a foreign country shall be granted any of the rights and privileges under this Act unless he or she can show to the satisfaction of the Board that the country of which he or she is a citizen, subject or national permits within its territorial limits on the same basis as the citizen, subject or national of such country: Provided, That the requisites for admission to midwifery school and for graduation in said country are substantially the same as those in this country.

Sec. 24.    Practice of Midwifery Defined. — A person shall be deemed to be practising midwifery within the meaning and intent of this Act, who shall, for a fee salary, or other reward or compensation, perform services requiring an understanding of the principles and applications of procedures and techniques applicable to the care of normal child-bearing women from the beginning of pregnancy until the end of puericulture and the care of their normal infants during the neonatal period: Provided, however, That these provisions shall not apply to students in midwifery schools who perform midwifery services under the supervision of their instructors, nor to cases of emergency.

Sec. 25.    Refusal to issue certificates of registration. — The Board of Examiners for Midwives shall refuse to issue a certificate or registration to any person convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude, and to any person guilty of immoral or dishonorable conduct. The Board shall give the applicant a written statement setting forth the reason or reasons for its action, which statement shall be incorporated in the records of the Board.  

Sec. 26.    Revocation and Suspension of Certificates. — The Board shall also have the power to revoke or suspend the validity of a certificate of registration of a midwife for any of the causes mentioned in the preceding section, or for unprofessional conduct, malpractice, incompetency or serious ignorance or negligence in the practice of midwifery or for making use of fraud, deceit or false statements to obtain a certificate of registration. From the decision of the Board, appeal may be taken to the Secretary of Health whose decision shall be final.

Sec. 27.    Reissue of Revoked Certificate and Replacement of Lost Certificate. — The Board may, for reasons of equity and justice and upon proper application therefor, issue another copy of the certificate, original or duplicate, upon payment of ten pesos, and in so doing it may, in its discretion, exempt the applicant from the necessity of undergoing examination. A new certificate of registration to replace any certificate lost, destroyed or mutilated, may be issued subject to the rules of the Board and upon payment of ten pesos.

ARTICLE IV
Sundry Provisions Relative to the Practice of Midwifery

Sec. 28.    Prohibition in the Practice of Midwifery — Penal Provisions. — Any person who shall practice midwifery in the Philippines within the meaning of this Act, without a certificate of registration issued in accordance therewith or without having been declared exempt from examination and registration, or any person presenting or using as his or her own the certificate of registration of another, or any person giving any false or forged evidence to the Board in order to obtain a certificate of registration, or any person using a revoked or suspended certificate of registration, or any person assuming, using or advertising as a registered midwifery or registered nurse-midwife or appending to his or her name the letters R.M. without having been conferred such title by the Board of Examiners duly authorized to confer the same, or advertising any title or description tending to convey the impression that he or she is registered midwife, shall be guilty of misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to a fine of not less than one thousand pesos nor more than five thousand pesos, or to suffer imprisonment for a period of not less than one year nor more than five years, or both, in the discretion of the court: Provided, however, That "hilots" registered with the Department of Health as having been trained in the art and practice of midwifery under the UNICEF-Philippine Department of Health project and "hilots" in localities where the services of a practising physician or registered midwife are not available, having actually safely handled twenty delivery cases as certified to by the proper health officer shall, within the purview of this Act, be allowed to continue in the practice of their trade.

The penalty above-provided shall likewise be imposed on any person found guilty of violating any rule or regulation issued pursuant to the provisions of this Act.

Sec. 29.    Repealing clause. — All laws, part of laws, orders or regulations inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed. 

Sec. 30.    Appropriation for the purpose of this Act. — The sum of two thousand pesos is hereby appropriated, out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act within the fiscal year of the approval thereof. Thereafter such funds as are necessary for the maintenance and operation of the Board of Examiners for Midwives shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

Sec. 31.    This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved: June 18, 1960

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