‘Continue support for midwives’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
COUNTRIES must continue to increase investments in support of midwives, urged the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).
In a message to mark the International Day of the Midwife, ICM Chief Executive Frances Ganges said investing in the education of midwives and growing the midwifery workforce is important towards ensuring there are enough qualified midwives to care for all women and newborn.
“The women and newborns of the world need midwives now and in the future,” she said, pointing out millions of women and newborns are cared for by skilled midwives ever year.
She stressed midwives have a key role to play as the global community strives to achieve the sustainable development goals of reducing maternal and newborn mortality as well as ensuring universal access to healthcare services.
ICM claimed that investing in midwifery education could yield a 16-fold return in investment in terms of lives saved and costs of caesarean sections avoided.
Citing reported statistics, the NGO said approximately 289,000 women die annually from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The statistics also showed that every year, more than 2.6 million babies are also stillborn.
This year’s theme of “Women and Newborns: The Heart of Midwifery” aims to increase awareness of the role of midwives.
Ganges said it is also a day to reiterate and call attention to the improvements still needed to ensure that all women have access to a qualified midwife, besides reminding the world of the “every day achievements” made by midwives in caring for women and newborns.
She viewed the International Day of the Midwife, celebrated on May 5, as an opportunity to highlight the successes of midwives and focus on recognising the importance of midwifery.
“(It) is a great opportunity for midwives, midwives’ associations, partners, friends and families around to focus on the very best outcomes for all women and their newborns,” she said.
“They are the reason why we are midwives. Women and newborns are indeed the heart of midwifery,” she added.
Among the key messages of the International Day of the Midwife is that midwives care for women and newborns with skill and compassion.
According to ICM, midwives educated to international standards can provide 87 per cent of the essential care needed for women and newborns while a qualified midwife can provide the best partnership for a woman during pregnancy and birth.
They also pointed out that women who have access to a midwife experience numerous benefits including less preterm births, less interventions during labour and shorter hospital stays.
“Extending this partnership to all pregnant women would save millions of lives each year. If all women delivered with a midwife in a facility capable of providing basic emergency care, it is estimated that 56 per cent of maternal, fetal and newborn deaths could be prevented,” said ICM.
While the proven benefits of having care provided by a midwife are many, the NGO noted millions of women go through pregnancy and birth without a midwife or other professional care.
“This needs to change. Inequality in access to care persists: in developing countries, less than 60 per cent of women have access to a midwife when giving birth. In the least developed countries, this figure is only 34 per cent,” said ICM.
The Brunei Times