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Celebrating midwives


Ntsoaki Motaung

The Midwifery sector is said to be facing an accruing Covid-19 burden piled with inequalities at their workplaces.

This is according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Natalia Kanem who talked tough on the recuperation of the maternity nurses during Midwife International Day on Wednesday this week.

This year the day was celebrated under the theme “Follow the data, invest in midwives.” 

Kenem outlined that midwives are often short on protective gear, lashing that they have scarce access to vaccines than other healthcare workers as they put their lives on the line while serving others.

She explained that midwives save the lives of women and babies and promote the health and well-being of entire communities. Thus, they deserve respect and gratitude.

“On the International Day of the Midwives, we honour the extraordinary contribution of midwives to humanity, and highlight the mounting data and evidence for more investment in midwifery as an essential element of health care,” she said.

Kanem continued that, “the latest edition of the State of the World’s Midwifery report launched today by UNFPA, the World Health Organization and the International Confederation of Midwives affirms that if we increase the number of midwives and the quality of care they provide, we would save an estimated 4.3 million lives a year by 2035. Universal coverage of midwife-delivered interventions by 2035 would avert 67% of maternal deaths.”

According to Kanem, such achievements depend on midwives gaining better education and training, along with comprehensive and supportive workplace regulation. They must have a greater role in professional leadership and governance, and scope to use their unique experience to drive advancements in health policies and service delivery.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, it is based on on-going and growing efforts to centre midwives as fundamental to ending preventable maternal and new born deaths and achieving SDG 3:reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births by 2030.

“This year’s International Day of the Midwife also coincides with the launch of the State of the World’s Midwifery Report which is an updated evidence based and detailed analysis of the midwifery workforce across the globe. The data included in this report shows that achieving universal coverage of midwife-delivered interventions by 2035 could avert 67% of maternal deaths, 64% of the new-born deaths and 65% of the stillbirths. This would save globally an estimated 4.3 million lives a year.”

The United Nations Population Fund Representative to Lesotho Dr Marc Derveeuw thanked Midwives in Lesotho for putting their lives at risk in times of Covid-19 to provide live-saving services to pregnant mothers in times of highest needs, for helping to bring new life into the world, and for preventing maternal mortality and stillbirths.

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