International Day of the Midwife 2012

7 MAY 2012

Partners raise their voices for midwives

Partners for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health raised their voices in support of the crucial work of skilled birth attendants in honour of International Day of the Midwife 2012.

Since 1991 the International Day of the Midwife (IDM) on 5 May has provided an annual focal point for midwives, midwifery associations and partners around the world to raise awareness of midwifery and extend the influence of midwives in order to lobby and advocate for policy changes relating to maternal, newborn and reproductive healthcare nationally and internationally.

IDM 2012 builds on the achievements of the Road to Durban campaign in 2011, which led to the release of the first-ever “State of the World’s Midwifery” report by PMNCH and more than 20 partners at the Triennial Midwives Congress in Durban, South Africa, in June.

In the years leading up to 2015, ICM will use the overarching theme “The World Needs Midwives Today More Than Ever” as part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the need for midwives.

Below are some examples of the various ways PMNCH members have carried the momentum forward by marking IDM 2012.

UNFPA, International Confederation of Midwives recognize IDM 2012

UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin and Agneta Bridges, secretary-general of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) released a joint statement to commemorate International Day of the Midwife on 5 May. "The right to health is a basic human right that every woman should enjoy. Yet, every day, almost 1,000 women die in pregnancy and childbirth … One of the main causes for these tragedies is lack of access to maternity services, including the care of midwives or others with midwifery skills at childbirth," they wrote, continuing, "Urgent action is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on child and maternal health before the target year of 2015, and investing in human resources for health, especially midwifery, is one the soundest investments a country can make to accelerate progress."

FIGO highlights unique role of midwives in global maternal and newborn health

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) released a statement in the lead up to IDM 2012 celebrating the crucial role midwives play in global maternal and newborn health and underscoring the urgent need for partners to work together to build on the progress made in 2011.

AMREF calls for more money and recognition for African midwives

To mark IDM 2012, the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) called on African governments and their development partners including civil society to invest urgently in training midwives, with a view to eliminate the gap of over 50% in numbers of midwives that exists today and denies African mothers life saving services. AMREF is contributing towards this through its “Stand Up for African Mothers” campaign, which aims to train 15,000 midwives by 2015 and help reduce maternal mortality by 25% in sub-Saharan Africa. AMREF is also nominating an African midwife for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. This is a symbolic nomination where AMREF wants to honour all African midwives for the important role they play in saving the lives of mothers and their children.

ICM Photograph