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Empowering and investing in midwives could save millions of lives each year

Ms. Martinez is a midwifery student in Tulancingo, Mexico, working in an underserved community. “There is a health care house, but there are no permanent staff,” she explained. “In my community there are many youth pregnancies, and there are no dedicated health staff who could care for women or take care of teenagers.”

This shortage is partly due to a widely held misconception that midwifery is an antiquated profession, she indicated. “I met with doctors and nurses who questioned me: Why was I studying this midwife career? They didn't see room for that.”

Thursday is the International Day of the Midwife, a moment to recognise the enormous contributions of midwives to health care around the world. 

“Not only do their capable hands bring new life into the world, they are champions of sexual and reproductive health and rights, providing voluntary contraception and other essential services, while supporting childbearing women emotionally,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s Executive Director, in her statement marking the day.

Yet continued lack of recognition hinders not only the success of midwives but also the health and well-being of whole societies. “We will not achieve universal health coverage without them,” said Dr. Kanem, “or realize our aspirations to reduce maternal and newborn deaths, as agreed in the Sustainable Development Goals.”

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Source: United Nations Population Fund, 4 May 2022


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