State of the World’s Midwifery 2014

stateThe Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000. All 191 UN member states have committed to achieve these goals by the year 2015 and to combat issues such as poverty, hunger and disease. MDG 4 and 5 aim to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health which is a huge challenge in many developing countries. Midwives can prevent about two thirds of deaths among women and newborns and their role extends from family planning through the postpartum period. It is important to shed light on the role of these unsung heroes.

The UNFPA and partners produced the 2014 edition of The State of the World’s Midwifery report to highlight the role of these healthcare professionals. This report includes information on 73 countries which carry more than 92 percent of maternal and newborn death burden globally and there are some startling findings. Within these countries, that account for the vast majority of maternal and newborn death, there exists less than half of the world’s medical, midwifery and nursing personnel at 42 percent. A further dichotomy exits within these countries as workforce shortages are greatest in areas with highest mortality rates. Only 4 of the included countries have a midwifery workforce that meets the universal need for the 46 essential interventions for sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health. Furthermore, the lack of comprehensive, disaggregated data makes it difficult to determine the availability and quality of the midwifery workforce, and data accuracy and completeness is key in order to plan effectively. There is a minimum of 10 pieces of information that countries should collect which include factors such as headcount, length of education and age distribution. Moreover, it was shown that educated midwives who are regulated to international standards can provide 87 percent of the essential care required. It is also critical to improve facilities and make sure they have the capacity to provide appropriate services.

The returns on investment on midwives can be termed as a “best buy” as investment in education and deployment could yield 16 fold returns in terms of saved costs from complications and more importantly, investment in midwives and other healthcare professionals can contribute to ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths.







  1. yasodha Danomal says

    I am yasodha Danomal nurse-midwife studying BSCM in AKU Karachi Pakistan and working in JPMC Karachi .
    As sad madam Imtiaz Kamal our great leader of midwife, she always fight for midwives’ status on all the aspects such as midwife practices, competencies and also for respective self safe practice to best buy. Thank you mam I full support to my midwifery association and proud on it. There I request to all the readers please support to the MAP and mam`s vision and mission.

  2. Imtiaz Kamal says

    Is our Midwife the Best Buy?
    I have said so 60 years to deaf ears of ALL concerned including the donors and international organisations particularly WHO.
    Three existing categories of midwives were inherited from the British Raj. One is supposedly, trained as REAL Community Midwife but is called LHV Suddenly in 2005 the government decided to train 1200 of yet an other categoryof midwives called Community Midwife. .
    Their training started in 2007 without preparing the teachers and without plans for their deployment,which were designed in 2010. Also a policy decision is still awaited about their status. Are they a part of the health system or autonomous and independent practitioners?
    This state of confusion exists because neither the health authorities nor the Pakistan Nursing Council (PNC) seem to fully understand the competency levels required of licensed midwives to provide SAFE maternity services.
    So far majority of midwives are getting diplomas on the basis of theoretical knowledge . Are such midwives a ” Best Buy.”?

    PNC has now decided to train yet an other category called Practical Licensed Midwife.
    With this state of affairs is the possibility of MMR going down in sight?

    Imtiaz Aapa
    An octogenarian proud midwife.

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