Midwives are Priceless. Here’s Why

Midwives matter now more than ever. This is the compelling bottom line of two major new publications released in recent months: The Lancet‘s June 2014 Series on Midwifery and State of the World’s Midwifery 2014 (SoWMy), coordinated by the United Nations Population Fund, the International Confederation of Midwives, and the World Health Organization.

The Lancet Series has received some attention, including on this blog, but the less visible SoWMy is no less groundbreaking. Over 200+ pages, SoWMy lays out compelling data on women’s health globally and a plan for meeting women’s fundamental health care needs in 75 “countdown” countries with the highest rates of maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. SoWMy also provides an important lens for understanding critical challenges we face here in the United States.

SoWMy argues convincingly that a fully enabled midwifery workforce is the most important step in creating a health system that works well for women and newborns. In the Foreword, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states that

“Every year, more governments, professional associations and other partners are acting on the evidence that midwifery can dramatically accelerate progress on sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health and universal health coverage.”

 Midwifery is a best buy, asserts SoWMy.


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