Midwives needed now more than ever, UN agency says as it marks Day
Three million newborns and hundreds of thousands of women die each year because they lack access to maternity health services and skilled midwifery care, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said on the occasion of International Day of the Midwife.
“No woman should die trying to give life. Increased investment is needed to provide midwifery skills and life saving services and to make midwives a priority within health programmes, policies and budgets,” said Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, in a joint statement issued yesterday with Agneta Bridges, the head of the International Confederation of Midwives.
“The world needs midwives now more than ever to protect the lives of women and babies,” the statement said as it marked the Day, which is observed on 5 May.
Midwives can prevent up to 90 per cent of maternal deaths where they are authorized to practice their competencies and play a full role during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth, according to the UNFPA.
They can also help lower long-term illness effects brought on obstetric fistula, a severe medical condition where a hole or fistula develops after severe or failed childbirth.
In addition, midwives provide information on family planning, counselling, and prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child.
Reducing maternal mortality ratio, cutting the mortality rate among children under five and halving the spread of HIV are three of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which world leaders agreed to reach by 2015.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host a special thematic session on accelerating progress towards the MDGs during the high-level General Assembly debate in September in New York.