UNFPA Releases Report on State of the World’s Midwifery

By Rachel Walden |

This month, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a report, The State of World’s Midwifery 2011: Delivering Health, Saving Lives. The report stems from concerns about maternal and newborn deaths and lack of adequate health care in many countries. It builds on previous calls for increased midwifery care around the globe, and provides details about how many midwives there are working in various areas around the world. It echoes past calls for increasing access to well-trained midwives as part of a global effort “to realize the right of every woman to the best possible health care during pregnancy and childbirth.”

Parts I and II of the freely available report describe the current state of midwifery around the world, while part III outlines goals for moving forward, including growing midwifery skills and increasing their numbers, enhancing midwifery education, ensuring that proper regulation is in place to keep women safe, encouraging action from professional associations, and more.  It also outlines “Bold Steps” to be taken by governments, regulatory bodies, schools/training associations, professional associations, and international partners and organizations in order to “maximize the impact of investments, improve mutual accountability and strengthen midwifery services.”

The report includes country profiles for 58 nations on the midwifery workforce, education, and regulation, health indicators such as maternal and neonatal mortality, and where women give birth. According to the report, these countries account for 91% of global maternal mortality and 82% of global neonatal mortality, despite representing only 58% of the the world’s births, and have only 17% of the world’s trained midwives, physicians and nurses.

The report is available in English, French and Spanish – on the “Main Report” page, just choose “Change language.”

Also, check out our previous post linking to the UNFPA report from the Strengthening Midwifery conference.

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