Midwives can provide 90 per cent of care for women, newborns – UNFPA report




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ABUJA -Midwives can provide 90 per cent of the essential care for  women and newborns when educated to international standards, a report says.
The report was compiled by the UN Population (UNFPA), International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the World Health Organisation () and partners, a statement by Mr Lothar Mikulla, Media Consultant UNFPA in Abuja on Tuesday said.
The statement quoted the report as saying that  midwives had a crucial role to play in the achievement of MDGs 4 (decreased child death) and MDGs 5 (increased maternal health).
“When educated to international standards and within a fully functional health system, they can provide about 90 per cent of the essential care to women and newborns and can potentially reduce maternal and newborn deaths by thirds,’’ the report said. .
The statement quoted the report as saying  that the major deficits in the midwifery workforce occurred in 73 countries where their services  were mostly needed.
The report recommended new strategies to address the deficits and save millions of lives of women and newborns.
It recommended that all women should have access to sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn services.
“These include issues, such as preventive and supportive care from a collaborative midwifery team, immediate access to emergency services when needed.
“Others include completing post- .
“From a broader perspective, women should delay marriage, have access to healthy nutrition and receive four pre-birth care visits,’’ the statement quoted the report as saying.
The report stated that the insufficient number of midwives resulted in “ 91 per cent of stillbirths and 93 per cent of newborn deaths’’.
“The report urges countries to invest in midwifery and training to contribute to closing the glaring gaps that exist.
“Investments in midwifery and training at agreed international standards can yield – as a study from Bangladesh shows –  a 1,600 per cent return on investment, ‘’it said.
The statement quoted Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Director, as saying that “midwives make enormous contributions to the health of mothers and newborns and the well-being of entire communities.
“Access to quality health care is a basic human right. Greater investment in midwifery is to making this right a reality for women everywhere.’’
The statement also quoted Frances Day-Stirk, ICM President, as saying that “midwives are central to midwifery care and the lives of women and newborn .
“The report precedes the Lancet Series on Midwifery, which together with the report will provide the evidence to guide all policy-makers in their quest to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths,’’ the statement said.
The statement added that only 22 per cent of countries had potentially enough midwives to provide -saving interventions to meet the needs of women and newborns.
It noted that it would leaf over three-fourths (78 per cent) of the countries with severe shortages in proper care. (NAN)