13 October 2016
The first global survey of midwifery personnel has revealed that too often, midwives face cultural isolation, unsafe accommodation, and low salaries, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today, calling for an end to the discrimination and lack of respect that hinder their ability to provide quality care to women and newborns.
“Their voices have gone unheard for too long, and too often they have been denied a seat at the decision-making table,” Dr. Anthony Costello, Director of Maternal, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health at WHO, said in a joint news release, stressing that the important role midwives play in the lives of mothers and newborns should not go unrecognized.
WHO conducted the first global survey of midwifery personnel in cooperation with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) Entitled, Midwives’ Voices, Midwives Realities, it revealed that midwives often feel like their efforts are constrained by unequal power relations within health system.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the online survey included findings from 2,400 midwives from 93 countries, who also reported facing cultural isolation, low salaries, and unsafe accommodation.
With more than 300,000 women dying every year while giving birth, and 2.7 million newborns dying during the first 28 days of life, WHO is advocating for better working conditions for midwives, including stronger education and advocacy around midwifery, because they play a vital role in preventing these deaths.