African midwifery leaders gather in Ghana to scale up action and save lives

A midwife and her patient

29 AUGUST 2011 | ACCRA, GHANA – During an intensive five days, delegates conducted an in-depth analysis of the state of midwifery education, association and regulation in their countries. This analysis will be used to draft national evidence-based action plans to improve midwifery education, association and regulation for each participating country – and to increase the number of births attended by qualified and competent midwives. Plans for regional development and collaboration were also discussed in order to share learning, build on each country’s strengths and address gaps common to African countries involved in the programme.

UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin commented on the importance of midwifery. "It saves lives and promotes good health in communities and in societies as a whole. Midwifery is an essential component of an effective health-care system."

"Evidence shows that access to competent, educated midwives and high-quality midwifery services significantly reduces the number of women and babies who die in pregnancy and childbirth," said ICM President Frances Day-Stirk. "As a result of ICM’s work, midwives now have global standards against which countries can assess their competencies, education and regulation of their workforce and save lives."

Earlier this year UNFPA, ICM and other PMNCH partners released the first-ever State of the World’s Midwifery Report, which took the global temperature on midwifery and provides countries participating in this workshop with the facts and figures and the tools they need to robustly identify the practical steps that will ensure safer childbirth for women in their respective countries.