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UNFPA calls for more midwives in health systems to reduce maternal deaths

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called for increase in the number of midwives in health systems and quality of care provided to significantly reduce maternal deaths.

The UNFPA Coordinator, Decentralized Office Northern Nigeria, Mrs. Mariama Darboe made the call at a press conference on Monday in Kaduna.

Darboe said latest report on the State of the World’s Midwifery launched by the UNFPA, World Health Organization and the International Confederation of Midwives, affirmed that the increase would save at least 4.3 million lives annually.

“Universal coverage of midwife-delivered interventions by 2035 would avert 67 per cent of maternal deaths.

“Such achievements depend on midwives gaining better education and training along with comprehensive and supportive workplace regulation.

“They must have a greater role in professional leadership and governance, and scope to use their unique experience to drive advancement in health policies and service delivery,” she said.

The coordinator noted that midwives save the lives of women and babies and promote the health and well-being of entire communities.

“They deserve our respect and gratitude, but that is not enough.

“On the international Day of the Midwife, we honour the extraordinary contribution of midwives to humanity, and highlight the mounting data and evidence for more investment in midwifery as an essential element of health care,” Darboe added.

She observed that the midwives often work in extra ordinary circumstances, and may walk miles to reach women or open space in their own homes to help them safely give birth.

“They have faced increasing pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic, and heightened inequalities in their workplaces.

“Often short on protective gear and with less access to vaccines than other healthcare workers, midwives have put their own lives at risk saving others.”

Darboe advised health systems to take action, stressing that “investing in empowered midwives is one of the surest ways to safeguard lives and protect the health and well-being of all.”(NAN)

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