UN News Centre reported on 5 May that United Nations officials hailed the significant impact of midwives on the health of women and newborns, and called for greater investments to ensure their life-saving services are available to all who need them around the world. “Midwives deliver – and not only babies,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA. “They save lives and promote good health in societies as a whole. They are an essential workforce in an effective health-care system.”
In a statement to mark the day, Dr. Osotimehin noted that more than one in three women in developing countries give birth alone, and in some of the poorest countries, as few as 13 per cent of all deliveries are assisted by a midwife or a health worker with midwifery skills. Read: UN News Centre
AFGHANISTAN: Xinhua reported on 5 May on the International Day of the Midwife in a story focusing on midwifery in Afghanistan. "Nearly 70 per cent of women dying from pregnancy related problems in my province due to the limited access to health centres and professional midwives," Afghan midwife Fatima Hamdard said. The article continued to cover UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin’s statement marking the day. "More than one in three women in developing countries give birth alone -- or with only relatives to oversee what is one of the most dangerous passage they will ever undergo," said Babatunde Osotimehin. Read: Xinhua
BANGLADESH: BDNews24 reported on 5 and 7 May on an effort to increase the number of trained midwives in the country. UNFPA Bangladesh representative Arthur Erken said midwives were an essential workforce in an effectively functioning health care system and the best way forward to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths. UNFPA is supporting the pilot programme in three districts – Munshiganj, Mymensingh and Chittagong – in the country. Read: BDNews24 and BDNews24
The Daily Star reported on 5 May that Bangladesh observed International Day of the Midwife and that Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, gave a statement marking the day. The statement said more than one in three women in developing countries gives birth alone or with only relatives. Read: The Daily Star
The New Age reported on 5 May that, with the country still heavily relying on community skilled birth attendants who lack the skill and the authority to perform complicated deliveries, and with one in 500 women dying during childbirth, Bangladesh, like other countries of the world, will today observe International Day of the Midwife. In Bangladesh, where more than 75 per cent of deliveries take place at home, it is imperative to improve the situation through the training of more midwives, according to UNFPA.
Although the number of women giving birth in medical facilities in Bangladesh has more than doubled, from 9 per cent in 2001 to 23 per cent in 2010, more than 75 per cent of deliveries still take place at home. Read: The New Age
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: Multiple media outlets published on 4 and 5 May the full statement by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, on the occasion of the International Day of the Midwife. Read in Bosnian: Sutra and Ljiljan
CHAD: Radio Chad reported on 5 May on a conference panel organized by the Chadian Association of Midwives, with the support of UNFPA, to mark the International Day of the Midwife and on UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotomehin’s statement on the day. During the conference, presentations followed by discussions were made on the role of midwives in reducing maternal death, the analysis of their situation in Chad and the need for their redeployment in the light of their uneven distribution in the territory.
CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE): Tele-Congo, les Depeches de Brazzaville and Radio Pointe Noire reported on 7 May on the celebration of the International Day of the Midwife in Pointe Noire, which was organized jointly by the Inter-provincial Midwives Order and UNFPA. UNFPA Representative David Lawson called on the government to take the necessary measures and budget to enhance the professional standards and training for midwifery. He also indicated that UNFPA would support the participation of Congolese midwives at the upcoming Durban Conference of midwives. Read in French: Les Depeches de Brazzaville
Congo-site, DRTV, TV-Congo, Depeches de Brazzaville reported on 6 May on the celebration in Brazzaville of the International Midwives Day by the National Midwives Order, the Health Ministry, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO on the role of midwives in achieving MDG 4, 5 and 6. CARMMA Ambassador Senator Philomene Fouty-Soungou and UNFPA Representative David Lawson led a march of midwives. Read in French: Congo-Site and Les Depeches de Brazzaville
DRTV, TV Congo, Radio Congo, TV+, Canal Benediction broadcasted on 5 May the message of UNFPA Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin, delivered by UNFPA Resident Representative, David Lawson, on the occasion of International Midwife Day.
COSTA RICA: La Teja reported on May 5 on a celebration held to mark the International Day of the Midwife. UNFPA recognized the work of the midwives as it noted that many women continue to give birth without the skilled assistance they provide.
GUINEA-CONAKRY: Guinee24 reported on 5 May that UNFPA-Guinea, through the foundation of the First Lady of the Republic, Conde Djen, offered over 30 million Guinean francs worth of medical equipment for delivery to the Health Centre Yimbaya and the premium midwives who have contributed more to save lives of women and babies. Read in French: Guinee 24
GUYANA: Kaieteur News reported on 5 May that, with a firm commitment to ensure the safety of both women and children during pregnancy and delivery, midwives drawn from across the country gathered at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown, on 4 May to celebrate International Day of the Midwife, one day ahead of the designated day. The event was held under the theme, “The world needs midwives now…more than ever.” The local observance was preceded by a march which commenced at the Ministry of Health’s Brickdam Office and culminated at the Umana Yana where the health workers gathered to reflect on the work of midwives. Yesterday’s event also featured addresses by Director of Maternal and Child Health within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Janice Woolford, and UNFPA Technical Specialist, Derven Patrick. The commemorative activities were later taken to the Aracari Resort at Versailles, West Bank Demerara, for a forum which saw the role of the midwife being highlighted in-depth by UNFPA Midwife Adviser Mandy La Fleur. Read: Kaieteur News
IRAN: Tehran Times featured an interview on 7 May with Mehmet Hulki Uz, the UNFPA representative in Tehran, who said that Iran has succeeded in reducing maternal death by 80 per cent within 18 years. In addition, “Now in Iran 97 per cent of deliveries are being achieved safely,” he said. The interview was published as the Iranian Health Ministry marked the International Day of the Midwife. Read: Tehran Times
Etelaat News, Salamat and Fars reported on 4 and 5 May on International Day of the Midwife, noting that reducing maternal mortality and boosting maternal health are among the chief concerns of the country’s health system today. Iran succeeded in reducing its maternal mortality rate by 80 per cent over the course of 18 years, from 1990-2008. According to Mehmet Hulki Uz, UNFPA Representative in Iran, the country has made some momentous progress in maternal health, but 420 women still die each year because of pregnancy related causes – that’s more than one Iranian woman a day. UNFPA is working with the Ministry of Health to help reduce the country’s maternal mortality rate further: 80-90 per cent of maternal deaths can be avoided by strengthening the role of midwives. Midwives help make the health system more efficient because they can consult at a community level and detect possible complications arising from pregnancy – at a third (on average) of the cost for a physician to do so, generating significant savings for the government. UNFPA advocates for doctors and midwives to form part of a “family practice” team in which midwives can offer community-level family planning and maternal health services and refer any issue beyond their sphere of competency to a doctor.
KENYA: The Nation reported on 4 May on the International Day of the Midwife, noting that UNFPA in its latest statistics notes that every day, 1,000 women die and 5,500 newborns die in the first week of life for lack of adequate medical care. Thirteen per cent of all deliveries are attended by a health worker with midwifery skills in poor countries, and UNFPA and the Kenya Medical Association say there is need to invest in building these skills. Read: The Nation
The Nairobi Star reported on 2 May that there is a global shortage of some 350,000 professional midwives, according to UNFPA. UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said as a result of the shortage, women and their newborn babies die from complications that would be prevented by a health worker with skills, the right equipment and support. He noted that more than one in three women in developing countries give birth alone or with the help of relatives. This, he said, is dangerous for women. Dr. Osotimehin said that in the poorest countries, as few as 13 per cent of all deliveries are assisted by a midwife or a health worker with skills. "Midwives are the unsung heroes of maternal and newborn health," said Dr. Osotimehin in a statement released ahead of the International Day of the Midwife to be marked on 5 May. He underscored the need for countries to invest in human resources for health. He added that 1,000 women die daily and 5,500 newborns die in the first week of life for lack of adequate medical care. Read: The Nairobi Star
PAKISTAN: The Nation reported on 6 May that Parliamentary Health Secretary Saeed Elahi has said that the uplifting of the health sector and welfare of the people associated with it was the top priority of the government. Addressing a seminar arranged with the cooperation of the Punjab Health Department, UNICEF and UNFPA on the occasion of International Midwives Day, he said that the government was paying special attention to the health of women and children. Read: The Nation
PARAGUAY: Multiple media outlets reported on 4-6 May on International Day of the Midwife. Articles highlighted the fact that, in Paraguay three out of ten births are attended by midwives. They also reported on the message from the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, who said, “Midwives, not only offer services, but are also who attend births, save lives and promote the health of women and societies as a whole. They are an essential part of any personal health system.” Read in Spanish: ABC, Vanguardia and La Nacion
SRI LANKA: Ceylon Daily News reported on 5 May on International Day of the Midwife, noting that in Sri Lanka, public health midwives have been a cornerstone in reducing maternal deaths and improving the health of mothers and their newborns. "Sri Lanka's investments in improving maternal health are exemplary. By applying the right policies and making the right investments to increase skilled attendance at birth along with increased access to family planning and emergency obstetric care, Sri Lanka has shown that maternal deaths can be reduced even prior to attaining high levels of economic development. UNFPA is also proud to be part of these achievements" said UNFPA Representative Lene Christiansen. Read: Ceylon Daily News
SUDAN: Sudan Vision and Al Sahafa reported on 5 May on the International Day of the Midwife. In a fullpage of coverage, Sudan Vision included the message of UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA messages on the event and an article on midwifery and maternal health highlighting the support of UNFPA to the national efforts of reducing maternal mortalities and improving women’s health. Read: Al Sahafa, Sudan Vision Daily (a) and Sudan Vision Daily (b)
Multiple media outlets also reported on 3-7 May on events marking the International Day of the Midwife in Juba, beginning with the establishment of the first Nurses and Midwives Association of Southern Sudan, which brought together nurses and midwives from all ten states in South Sudan. Coverage also marked the launch of the Month of the Midwife, which began on the day. Events included a march and rally in support of midwives on 5 May, the broadcast of a UNFPA-produced documentary on midwifery in Southern Sudan and interviews, panel discussions and statements featuring multiple UNFPA officials. A South Sudan TV talkshow featured UNFPA Head of Office Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov, along with Janet Michael of the Ministry of Health of GOSS and Petronella Wawa, Principal of the UNFPA-supported Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery. Read: Gurtong and Sudan Tribune
SWAZILAND: The Swazi Observer reported on 6 May that UNFPA Country Director Dr. Hassan Mohtashami said the current number of midwives in the country should be increased in each local hospital. Currently there are slightly over 1,200 midwives in Swaziland, disclosed chief nursing officer Thembsile Khumalo. Dr. Mohtashami said midwives were a critical attribute of human resources for maternal health because they simply could make a difference between life and death. “Even though recent reports by the UN show a decline in deaths during pregnancy and childbirth of 34 per cent, the annual rate of decline is less than half of what is required to achieve the MDGs,” he said. Read: The Swazi Observer
The Swazi Observer reported on 6 May on the International Day of the Midwife, as UNFPA country Director Dr. Hassan Mohtashami said the current number of midwives in the country should be increased in each local hospital. Currently there are slightly over 1,200 midwives in Swaziland, disclosed chief nursing officer Thembsile Khumalo. Read: The Swazi Observer
The Times of Swaziland reported on 6 May that the frequency of pregnancy within a short space of time is a major concern to midwives in the country. According to the midwives, this has greatly contributed to the high maternal mortality rate. They attributed this to the lack of access to family planning services, as the level of contraceptive use for married women in the country currently stands at 51 per cent. The midwives revealed this during the commemoration of the International Day of the Midwife, which was held at the Royal Villas on 5 May. They said there was a need to consider health education as a key for behaviour change. UNFPA Representative Hassan Mohtashami said midwives were a critical human resource for maternal health because they are skilled birth attendants. He said the country needs to train skilled attendants who can make a substantive contribution to the reduction of maternal mortality. "Rural women may be illiterate, but can be trained as skilled attendants," Dr. Mohtashami said. Read: The Times of Swaziland
The Swazi Observer reported on 4 May that Swaziland, with the support of UNFPA, was to join the world in the celebration of International Day of the Midwife. One of the critical elements for the attainment of the health outcomes, especially the MDG 5 target of 75 per cent reduction of maternal mortality, is human resources for health. That is why there has been increasing attention accorded to this component as part of the effort to strengthen health systems in developing countries. Sexual Reproductive Health Programme Manager Phumzile Mabuza said that improving maternal health calls for the expansion of the specific functions and or categories of midwifery personnel. “Midwives need to be equipped with knowledge and skills to improve the quality of care rendered to clients. This would ensure joyful childbirth prospect rather than misery for millions of women in the world,” she said. Read: The Swazi Observer
TANZANIA: The Citizen reported on 4 and 5 May on events commemorating International Day of the Midwife, including a march to celebrate the work of midwives, a statement by UNFPA on the day, profiles of UNFPA officials and midwives in the country, and calls for improved training for midwives in the country. “The World Health Organisation and other UN agencies as well as some global partners recognize the fact that midwives are key to achieving the goal to reduce in maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities globally,” said Rita Noronha, UNFPA health system programme specialist. Read: The Citizen
TIMOR-LESTE: Timor Post and Suara Timor Lorosae reported on 5- 6 May on the two-day, UNFPA-led celebration of the International Day of the Midwife. The event opened with an address from the President of Timor-Leste, Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, who spoke on the important work of midwives in saving women’s and children’s lives, and called on men to be more engaged in family planning in order to preserve women’s health.
UGANDA: The Monitor reported on 6 May and published a statement by UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Ostomehin marking the International Day of the Midwife. The growing shortage of midwives is contributing to Uganda's failure to end maternal and child deaths, the government has said. At least 2,000 additional midwives are required to provide skilled care during antenatal, delivery and postnatal care including providing family planning and immunisation services. Addressing journalists as part of yesterday's International Day of the Midwife, Health Minister Stephen Mallinga in a statement read for him by Assistant Commissioner for Health Promotion Paul Kagwa, explained that the shortage of midwives is affecting the quality of maternal and newborn care. Read: The Monitor and The Monitor
URUGUAY: Sociedad Uruguaya reported on 5 May on the celebration of the International Day of the Midwife. Read in Spanish: Sociedad Uruguaya
VIET NAM: Gia Dinh va Xa Hoi (Family and Society) reported on 5 May that on the occasion of the International Day of Midwife, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, commended the important work of midwives. “Midwives deliver – and not only babies. They save lives and promote good health in societies as a whole. They are an essential workforce in an effective healthcare system,” said Dr. Osotimehin. Read in Vietnamese: Gia Dinh va Xa Hoi
YEMEN: Naba news, Sahafanews and Bawabat al-Yemen published on 4 May the statement by Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, on the occasion of theInternational Day of the Midwife. Read in Arabic: Naba News, Sahafa News and Bawabat al-Yemen
ZIMBABWE: The Standard reported on 8 May on statements by the International Confederation of Midwives marking the International Day of the Midwife, as well as calls by UNFPA and others to improve training and availability of midwives around the world.