Happy International Day of the Midwife!
Today we celebrate the women and men who through their work save the lives of mothers and newborns every day. Midwives are the cornerstone to the health and well-being of families.
Around the world midwives play an essential role for the health of women who are planning their families and women who are expecting a baby. From the little Swedish west coast town I am currently in, to the rural areas of Ethiopia, midwives are critical to the survival of mothers and newborns.
Approximately 290,000 women and 3 million infants die each year due to highly preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. For every woman who dies, 30 more suffer from long-lasting injuries, such as obstetric fistula. When a mother survives, the chance for her baby’s survival increases dramatically. Yet, every year 40 million women give birth at home without any access to care.
If all mothers-to-be received care from a well-educated midwife with necessary resources, most of maternal and newborn deaths could be prevented!
Families grow and communities thrive when mothers and newborns are healthy and have access to the necessary care, nutrition and information they need to continue to lead healthy lives. Women make up half of the world’s population and caring for their basic needs and the needs of their newborns are necessary to ensuring that women and their children can live to their full potential.
The World Needs Midwives!
As we get closer to the due date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and as we plan ahead to end poverty by 2030, there are certain priorities that need to be set straight.
Midwives play a very important role in reaching most (if not all) of the MDGs. The goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015 cannot be achieved without midwives, and currently we don’t have enough of them!
It is estimated that 350,000 midwives are needed to achieve universal access to maternity care.
Midwives help to ensure that families are healthy and capable to move themselves out of poverty. Healthy mothers have healthier children and when families are healthy they have a greater chance to send their children to school. Midwives empower women by enabling them to make healthy and informed choices, and with universal access to maternity care through midwifery, we can save the lives of mothers and newborns everywhere.
We must invest in midwives and act now.
Here’s what you can do:
- Join the conversation today on Twitter using #IDM2014 – a special Twitter chat marathon hosted by various organizations. When: 8am – 2pm ET
- UNFPA and Girls’ Globe are hosting the last hour of the marathon focusing on why midwives matter for youth. Hashtag: #IDM2014. When: 1pm ET
- Tell world leaders what you think! This week is Global Action Week. Through the United Nation’s My World Survey, you can tell world leaders what you think top priorities are for our world.
- The conversation continues with #ICMLive. FHI360, Johnson & Johnson and the International Confederation of Midwives are leading a curated newsletter to provide live coverage of key conversations throughout May and during the 2014 ICM Congress in Prague, Czech Republic. Sign up here.