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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 4 2014 (IPS) - As UN member states contemplate the important additives for the Post 2015 Development Agenda, health organisations are lobbying for investments in midwifery, a service experts believe could provide up to 90 percent of the care needed for newborns and pregnant mothers at the time of birth.
“Midwives are central to midwifery care and the lives of women and newborn babies,” said Frances Day-Sirk, President of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).
A report released Monday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) focuses on 73 countries across the world and emphasizes the urgency of training midwives to execute the birthing process with great efficiency . And returns on investing in this sector can prove to be a win, it adds.
According to the study, State of the World’s Midwifery 2014: A Universal Pathway – A Woman’s Right to Health, “investing in midwifery education, with deployment to community-based services, could yield a 16-fold return on investment in terms of lives saved and costs of caesarean sections avoided, and a “best buy” in primary health care.”
In countries where medical care is both elusive and expensive, midwifery is a mother’s next best option; when given precise education and allowed to fully function within the health system, midwives can help reduce the maternal and newborn deaths by two thirds.
“The midwifery workforce, within a supportive health system, can support women and girls to prevent unwanted pregnancies, provide assistance throughout pregnancy and childbirth, and save lives of babies born too early,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.
As a follow up to the inaugural 2011 report launched on the same subject, this new package of information addresses four key elements that often act as barriers for midwives: acceptability and quality of midwifery services, accessibility and availability.
In the 73 countries profiled in the report, nearly half have taken important steps to retain midwives in remote areas—a feat many health organizations and NGOs applaud.
Because of the growing gap in resources and infrastructure as the world population grows, urgent measures need to be executed in order to assure that women get the health services they so desperately need during pregnancy.
Midwives pay a crucial role, many of them being trained locally, understanding the lay of the land, being familiar with the communities and providing a safe haven for individuals who would otherwise struggle to find assistance.
“Access to quality health care is a basic human right. Greater investment in midwifery is key to making this right a reality for women everywhere,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA.
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