In honor of International Day of the Midwife on May 5, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a statement highlighting the important role of midwives during childbirth and noting the shortage of approximately 350,000 professional midwives worldwide. According to the UNFPA, more than one in every three women in developing nations gives birth either alone or with only the help of a family member.
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, stated, “I commend the important work of midwives. Midwives deliver – and not only babies. They save lives and promote good health in societies as a whole. They are an essential workforce in an effective healthcare system.” In June, the UNFPA is scheduled to release the first-ever report on the State of the World’s Midwifery.
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.