Advocating for investments in midwives

S. Murigi-AMREF

When I manage to save a mother’s life or a child’s life because of my actions, that’s when I’m most satisfied.” says Nan Than Tha Oo, a midwife from Myanmar. Under Nan ThanThan Oo’s care, no mother has died during or shortly after pregnancy. Oo, is one of the amazing women recognized* by the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) for her remarkable work in saving lives and improving maternal and child health in remote and rural areas.

As we approach the International Day of the Midwife (May 5), the Alliance takes the opportunity to celebrate midwives like Nan Than Tha Oo and highlight the importance of midwives’ in the healthcare continuum. Midwives work in and across a wide range of settings and make a significant contribution to the wider public health agenda. In the coming weeks and months, this vital workforce will be on the agenda at various global conferences.

In May 2014 - at the Global Forum for Government Chief Nursing Officers and Midwives (GCNOMs), Registrars of regulatory bodies and Presidents of nursing and midwifery Associations who play strategic roles in policy formulation, leadership and management, standard setting and regulation – will meet with key partners the World Health Organization, International Council for Nurses and the International Confederation of Midwives, under the theme of Nursing and midwifery workforce and universal health coverage.

In June 2014 – Alliance member International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) will host the 30th ICM Triennial Congress in Prague. The Congress will highlight challenges facing midwifery, especially in Eastern Europe, and the work necessary to ensure high quality women-centred midwifery care. The theme for the 2014 Congress is ‘Midwives: Improving Women’s Health Globally’, a theme which reflects MDG 5 (to improve maternal health).

The conference will also see the launch of the second edition of the State of the World’s Midwifery (SoWMy) 2014. The report will track progress on the access to midwifery services and assess the quality of care in 73 countries that carry more than 95 per cent of the global burden of maternal, newborn and child deaths. The findings of the report will complement two other important reports to be launched in 2014–the Countdown to 2015 biannual report and the Every Newborn Action Plan. These three reports will inform the post-2015 development agenda.

The Alliance commends the work of its many partners in bringing issues surrounding midwifery practice to the forefront. As these events unfold, the Alliance encourages its members and partners to support midwives worldwide through increased investment in their recruitment and training, ensuring that they have the tools they need to better serve our communities.