THE World Health Organization (WHO) has lamented the shortage of midwives in the world which leads to maternal deaths especially in Africa.
This was revealed through a Policy Dialogue of the State of The World’s Midwifery 2021 report which was launched by WHO in partnership United Nations Population Fund and the International Confederation of Midwives for partnering with WHO to launch this important report.
The report highlights that despite the important role they play, there is a global shortage of 900 thousand midwives, with low-income countries, especially in Africa, facing the most acute scarcity. The result of this shortage is that an estimated 810 women die every single day as a result of complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
“There is one stillbirth every 16 seconds, and 2.4 million new-born deaths each year. Almost one in five women gives birth without assistance from a skilled health provider. Urgent investment in midwifery is needed in four main areas: First, we urge countries to pay careful attention to health workforce planning, management and regulation, and to working environment. This means greater autonomy for midwives within health care teams and providing an enabling work environment, free from gender-related stigma, violence, and discrimination,” reads the statement.
They urged countries to invest in high-quality education and training for midwives. This involves the equitable provision of competent educators and trainers, alongside well-resourced education and training institutions.
“Midwife-led improvements to service delivery, such as midwife-led models of care.Also And fourth, leadership and governance, with senior midwife positions in government, research, and education. Its publication presents us with a much-needed opportunity to discuss the future of midwifery at the global level. WHO states that it was important to capitalize and protect midwives as many of them were exposed to COVID-19 for the past 16 months as they were playing a huge role ensuring the good health of both women and the newly borns.
“Investment in midwives helps to promote the health and well-being of women, adolescents, and new-borns, increases the economic participation of women in the workforce, and contributes to women’s empowerment and gender equality. Fully integrating midwives in healthcare teams can also increase access to health services, including by the most vulnerable populations.”