'Midwifing the midwives': Addressing the empowerment, safety of, and respect for, the world's midwives

Elsevier Sci Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Midwifery, 2013, 29 (10), pp. 1075 - 1076
Issue Date:
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Globally, the impact that regulated, competent midwives make to positive maternal and infant health outcomes is seen as central in efforts to accelerate progress towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. Skilled, empowered midwives earn respect from women and communities by providing competent, culturally sensitive care, but they do more than just contribute to safer childbirth. Midwives, especially those working in developing countries, are essential to ensuring access to contraception, reducing malaria and mother-to-child transmission of HIV, eradicating obstetric fistula and preventing deaths from unsafe abortions. In addition, midwives are central to addressing gender-based violence and the upholding of human rights in their communities. It is clear that `the world needs midwives, now more than ever (ICM, 2013) and yet in most countries around the world, the recruitment of sufficient number of midwives remains grossly short of identified need. Increasing the number of midwifery student places, midwifery tutors and well-equipped classrooms alone will not, however, be enough to address current critical shortages. Significantly, retention and motivational strategies also have to be high on the list of strategies within global midwifery workforce priorities.
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