Every year 5 May is celebrated globally as the International Day of the Midwife. The theme for this year celebration is "Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!" Midwives everywhere understand that by working in partnership with women and their families they can support them to make better decisions about what they need to have a safe and fulfilling birth. The event is organised each year by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). There is also a Virtual International Day of the Midwife: an annual free 24-hour online international conference celebrating midwifery.
The journey of vaccines in Brazil. Thanks to a highly effective National Immunization Programme, most Brazilian parents can feel confident that their children will get the lifesaving vaccines they need – when they need them. Routine vaccination coverage in the country averages above 95% for most vaccines on the child immunization schedule every year – exceeding WHO’s recommendation of at least 90% coverage.
Let's talk about depression - Women with young babies
7 April, World Health Day – Depression after childbirth is common. It causes mental anguish and can prevent people from being able to carry out family responsibilities fully. Yet depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of depression will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help. This short video, focusing on depression among women with young babies, highlights some of the symptoms of depression following childbirth and the importance of talking as the first step towards getting help.
February 2017 -- Many women, their babies and children still die, or suffer from life-long disabilities, even after reaching a health facility, due to poor care practices. Improving the quality of care provided is of utmost urgency. With a target of halving maternal and newborn deaths in facilities in 5 years, national governments from 9 first wave countries and partners are joining forces to establish a Network to improve the quality of care provided to mothers, newborns and children. The Network will support countries to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve the vision set out by the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
7 November 2016 – WHO has issued a new series of recommendations to improve quality of antenatal care to reduce the risk of stillbirths and pregnancy complications and give women a positive pregnancy experience. By focusing on a positive pregnancy experience, these new guidelines seek to ensure not only a health pregnancy for mother and baby, but also an effective transition to positive labour and childbirth and ultimately to a positive experience of motherhood.
13 October 2016 -- The "Midwives voices, midwives realities report 2016" documents the voices and realities of 2740 midwifery personnel in 93 countries and describes, from their perspective, the barriers they experience to providing quality, respectful care for women, newborns and their families. The findings highlight that hierarchies of power and gender discrimination hinder progress, but also demonstrate the great potential for improvements in quality of care when the voices of midwives are heard.
16 August 2016 -- Every day, women die during childbirth and babies are born stillborn. With quality health care throughout pregnancy and childbirth, many of these deaths could be prevented, but countries often lack the knowledge and capacity needed to take actions to stop other women and babies dying in the same way. To address this issue WHO is today launching two new tools to help countries improve their data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths as well as a report on the global status of implementation of maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR), a key strategy for reducing preventable maternal mortality.
The 1-5 August is World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is “Support mums to breastfeed anytime, anywhere,” as all of society has a role to play in making our communities more breastfeeding-friendly. One of the reasons for doing this is that, according to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and Unicef Executive Director Anthony Lake, "Breastfeeding is one of the most effective, and cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children everywhere, yielding lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers."
5 May 2016 -- In Liberia, about 44% of women give birth at home without a skilled birth attendant. Nearly 1 in 138 live births result in a mother dying from preventable causes such as haemorrhage, sepsis or other reasons related to limited access to either basic midwifery or emergency obstetric care, such as caesarean sections. To improve access to quality midwifery care, the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, WHO and other partners are working to strengthen the country’s 6 midwifery schools, 3 of which are located in rural areas.
Highlighted maternal health topics
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Feature stories on maternal health
Ghanaian health workers use mobile phones to collect real-time maternal health data
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News on maternal health
- International Day of the Midwife 2017
- Institutionalizing Community Health Conference 2017
- Nine countries commit to halve maternal and newborn deaths in health facilities
- Pregnant women must be able to access the right care at the right time, says WHO
- WHO and partners call for better working conditions for midwives