Skilled birth attendants
The presence of a skilled health professional (doctor, nurse or midwife) during delivery is crucial in reducing maternal and child deaths. In 2010 approximately 287 000 women died while pregnant or giving birth and 3.1 million newborns die in the neonatal period.
The proportion of births attended by skilled personnel– is above 90% in three of the six WHO regions. However, increased coverage is needed in certain regions, such as Africa where the figure remains less than 50%.
WHO advocates for "skilled care at every birth".
Ensuring quality maternity care services can save the lives of women and newborns. These services require “an accredited health professional – such as a midwife, doctor or nurse – who has been educated and trained to proficiency in the skills needed to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns”. (1) In addition to the appropriate skills, these health professionals should be motivated and located in the right place at the right time, They need to be supported by appropriate policies, essential supplies including medicines and operating under appropriate regulatory frameworks.