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Access To Midwives Advances Global Health, Gender Equality

TIME: Midwives Are Essential to Global Health
Jerker Liljestrand, senior program officer of maternal, newborn, and child health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“…If … countries hope to reduce their maternal and newborn mortality rates …, they should prioritize deploying midwives and scaling up midwifery practices in their national health plans. It is also a smart economic decision. Investing in midwifery education and training programs and working to ensure midwives are reaching the communities most in need has the potential to yield a 16-fold return on investment in terms of lives saved and costs of non-emergency cesarean sections avoided. … Midwives will have a crucial role to play in ensuring that women and babies are supported during the natural birthing process and have access to the high-quality, patient-centered care they deserve. So today, on International Day of the Midwife, let’s recognize the incredible work of midwives and call on countries to invest in their potential” (5/5).

The Guardian: Access to the life-saving services of a midwife is a gender rights issue
Isabella Lövin, Sweden’s minister of international development cooperation

“…To help spread the word about the major part played by midwives in sexual and reproductive health, the Swedish foreign ministry teamed up with the International Confederation of Midwives to launch the Midwives4All initiative. Our aim is to strengthen women’s human rights, improve access to health services and resources for women, and increase female representation. … Access to a midwife is a big and important step in achieving sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. These rights are crucial for gender equality and are not merely a health issue. … Through the ambitious goals of the 2030 agenda, two of which explicitly relate to sexual and reproductive health and rights, world leaders have already agreed to invest in gender equality. … This pays off: if every country matched the most gender-equal country in its region in terms of access to the labor market, the global GDP would increase by 11 percent. Gender equality can truly be the key to ending poverty” (5/5).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.