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World Needs More Midwives To Reduce Maternal Mortality, Achieve Health MDGs

“[M]aternal mortality remains a heavy burden in sub-Saharan Africa where around 162,000 mothers die every year, leaving close to one million African children motherless,” Ugandan midwife Esther Madudu writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “The reason is that 40 percent of African women do not receive basic prenatal care, and more than half of all deliveries take place at home without medical assistance,” she states, adding, “With a skilled midwife present at birth, over 90 percent of maternal deaths can be prevented.” She notes, “Pregnant mothers who do receive medical care often have to walk great distances to get to a facility.” Madudu describes her participation at the Africa Regional Conference of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and provides some statistics about midwifery, highlighting a Save the Children report that “estimated that 350,000 more midwives are needed around the world to help reduce maternal and child deaths.” She adds, “Without significant extra funds and effort, the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to cut death rates among women and children are unlikely to be met in many countries by the 2015 deadline,” concluding, “Please show your support by sending a letter to America’s leaders asking them to protect global health funding and increase support for maternal, newborn and child-health programs” (7/24).