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U.N. Officials Recognize International Day Of The Midwife

U.N. officials, recognizing the International Day of the Midwife on Thursday, lauded the efforts of midwives worldwide and “called for greater investment to ensure their life-saving services are available to all who need them around the world,” the U.N. News Centre reports.

Flavia Bustreo, assistant director-general of Family and Community Health at the WHO, said in a statement that midwives are critical to delivering quality prenatal, labor and child health services. “Direct investment in midwifery education, regulation and association will create the necessary conditions for the midwifery profession to achieve its full potential,” she said.

UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said in a statement that midwives “save lives and promote good health in societies as a whole. They are an essential workforce in an effective health-care system.”

UNFPA, the WHO and their partners plan to release in June the first-ever State of the World’s Midwifery report, and in the same month will convene with thousands of midwives at the Triennial Midwives Congress in Durban, South Africa, the news service reports (5/5).

In observance of the day, the Guardian published an interactive feature titled “Voices from Africa” that includes comments from midwives in several African nations “about the chances of their country hitting the targets of the fifth millennium development goal – to improve maternal health – and what governments need to do to address the issue” (5/5).

Afghanistan Needs Additional Midwives To Fight Maternal, Child Mortality

In the wake of International Day of the Midwife and a Save the Children report that named Afghanistan the most dangerous country for women to give birth, the Guardian writes that while “Afghanistan has now trained between half and a third of the midwives it needs … there are still major issues around getting pregnant women to the clinics where they are based” and “the worry now is that, as the pull-out of troops accelerates, the funding for training will dry up.” The article describes the efforts of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Save the Children, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and USAID (Boseley, 5/5).

The war-torn country currently has 2,900 midwives but needs as many as 6,000, Acting-Minister for Public Health Suraya Dalil said, adding the lack of midwives has been hugely contributing to maternal and child mortality, Xinhua reports. “In other words, one woman dies from pregnancy related causes in every 30 minutes in Afghanistan,” she said (Behbud/Zhang, 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.