Each year since 1992, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) leads global International Day of the Midwife (IDM) campaign on the 5th of May to recognize and celebrate of the work of midwives, raise awareness about the status of midwives and the essential care they provide to mothers and their newborns.
The theme for the 2020 IDM is: CELEBRATE DEMONSTRATE MOBILISE UNITE.
The International Year of the Midwife is focusing on celebrating the work of midwives globally. Demonstrating through evidence the impact of midwives and the case for investing in midwives. Mobilising midwives, midwives’ associations, women’s groups and the wider global community to advocate for midwife-led care. Uniting midwives and women towards a common goal of gender equality.
RISE-Ghana joins the rest of the world to salute midwives across the globe and particularly those working under difficult conditions to deliver much-needed quality services to mothers and newborns.
Maternal mortality rate is still unacceptably high at 320/100,000 live births. A high maternal death rate is an indicator of an inadequate health care system, including those that offer poor and only limited access to health services. It also indicates that a woman’s fundamental rights to life and health are being violated.
Investing in midwifery and supporting midwives is very crucial to realize the fundamental human rights. As observed by Margaret Chan, Former Director-General, WHO World Health Assembly – May 2012, "What good does it do to offer free maternal care and have a high proportion of babies delivered in health facilities if the quality of care is sub-standard or even dangerous?"
In sub-Saharan Africa, 42% of healthcare facilities do not have access to a basic water source despite evidence that basic and simple hygiene practices during antenatal care, labour and birth, such as birth-attendant handwashing and clean birthing surfaces can reduce the risk of infections, sepsis and death for infants and mothers by up to 25% (WHO, 2015).
We also wish to use the occasion to thank our partners and donors such as UNICEF-Ghana, European Union, Oxfam in Ghana, WILDAF-Ghana, CDD-Ghana/Hewlett Foundation and the Australian High Commission in Ghana for the huge technical and financial investment over the years to improve the quality of care, universal health coverage, strengthen health systems towards better maternal and child health outcomes.
Over the years, projects such as the Mother Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (MBFHI) funded by UNCEF-Ghana and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Ghana Health Service, Improving WASH in health facilities funded by the Australian High Commission in Ghana has ensured that not only babies and mothers but health workers including midwives are safe from infections as they are able to practice the mandatory “Six Cleans” recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) that is 1. Clean Birth Space, 2. Clean Mother, 3. Clean Hands, 4. Clean Cord Cutting, 5. Clean Cord Tying and 6. Clean Cord Care and investing further AUS$60,000 through RISE-Ghana to provide the people of Chuchulga community with a 20-bed capacity maternity unit which ensures quality and dignity of care.
The CDD-Ghana flagship social accountability and citizen’s empowerment project dubbed “I Am Aware” funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is mobilizing and empowering citizens across Ghana to demand quality and universal health coverage through alliance-building between citizens and state actors. A Community Health Compound has been built for the Tong community in the Karaga District of the Northern Region through citizen empowerment efforts.
As the world marks this important day, we call on government and all stakeholders to reflect on the following based on evidence on “the case for case for midwifery” published by the World Health Organization through a series of studies:
Skilled midwives supported by functional health system, can avert over 2/3 of all maternal and newborn deaths, deliver 87% of all essential services. Yet only 42% of skilled midwives work in the 73 countries with more than 90% of all maternal and newborn deaths occur- UNFPA.
83% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and newborn deaths could be averted with the full package of midwifery care (including family planning).
56 maternal and neonatal outcomes where found to be improved through midwifery practice and philosophy of care.
87% of service need can be delivered by midwives, when educated to international standards.
82% reduction in maternal mortality possible with universal midwifery coverage. Midwifery is associated with reduced maternal and neonatal morbidity, reduced interventions in labour, improved psycho-social outcomes and increased birth spacing and contraceptive use.
Midwifery should be considered a core part of universal health coverage.
Quality midwifery care is central to achieving national and global priorities and securing the rights of women and newborn infants.
Quality relates to the right for women and newborns to the highest standard of health and is synonymous with women-centred care.
Counting on your usual cooperation.
Awal Ahmed Kariama
Vision: A world in which Human Rights and Sustainable Development informs all actions to empower people to live in DIGNITY.
Core Values: Accountability, Equal Opportunities & Diversity, Mutual Respect, Inclusion, Equity & Justice.
Mission: To facilitate and initiate processes/programs that empower poor people’s movements to access and utilize the social, human and natural resources they need in a sustainable and timely manner to become self-reliant.