Midwife Conference Held to Improve Maternal Health in Africa

In Ghana, approximately 70 midwifery leaders met to participate in a workshop focusing on improving access to midwife services throughout the African continent. The workshop is organized by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and will last for five days. Throughout the workshop, the leaders will work to develop plans to promote midwife education. According to UNFPA, approximately 358,000 women die annually from preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth, and 90 percent of these deaths occur in developing nations.

ICM President Frances Day-Stirk stated, “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. 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.”

In September, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank released a report stating that although maternal mortality rates have decreased by 34 percent since 1990, the decline in the rate of pregnancy-related deaths is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal target for 2015. Currently, there are approximately 1,000 maternal deaths per day caused by easily preventable conditions that include severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion.


UNFPA 8/25/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/21/11

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