WHO: Investing in midwives could save 4.3 million lives yearly

Erica Carbajal - Print  | 

In response to a global shortage of midwives, the World Health Organization is calling for more investments in the profession, saying that it could save 4.3 million lives each year. 

Worldwide, there's a shortage of 900,000 midwives, the WHO said in a May 4 statement, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has further disrupted the health needs of women and newborns. 

Significant investments in the midwifery workforce by 2035 could prevent 67 percent of maternal deaths, 64 percent of newborn deaths and 65 percent of stillbirths, translating to about 4.3 million lives per year, according to research cited by the WHO. 

For the workforce to achieve its full potential, greater investments are needed in education and training, health workforce planning, management and regulation and the work environment, and leadership and governance, according to the State of World's Midwifery 2021 report, which details midwives' role across 194 countries.

"For midwives to achieve their life-saving and life-changing potential, greater investment is needed in their education and training, midwife-led service delivery, and midwifery leadership," the WHO said. "Governments must prioritize funding and support for midwifery and take concrete steps to include midwives in determining health policies." 

 

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