Rural Initiative for Self-Empowerment-Ghana (Rise Ghana), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), as part of this year’s International Day of the Midwife (IDM) has commended midwives in Ghana and across the globe for working under difficult conditions to deliver the much-needed healthcare services to mothers and newborns.
Annually, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) leads global leads the IDM campaign on the 5th of May to recognize and celebrate 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 2019 IDM is: “Midwives: Defenders of Women's Rights.”
The NGO in a Press release issued and signed by the Executive Director, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, the NGO observed that Maternal mortality rate was 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”.
The stressed that investing in midwifery and supporting midwives was very crucial to realizing the fundamental human rights and underscored the need for the government to prioritize the investment in the training and the provision of the needed logistics to enable Midwives discharge their duties effectively.
It indicated that if the government prioritizes the empowerment of midwives and other health supporting staff, it would contribute significantly to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality as well as contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The statement indicated that despite evidence that basic and simple hygiene practices such as hand washing and clean birthing surfaces during antenatal care, labour and birth and birth-attendant can reduce the risk of infections, sepsis and death for infants and mothers by up to 25% (WHO, 2015), 42% of healthcare facilities In sub-Saharan Africa, did not have access to a basic water source.
It further called on the government including all stakeholders to reflect on the WHO Publication which states that 83% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and newborn deaths could be averted with the full package of midwifery care (including family planning).
Whilst the WHO Publication also states that 56 maternal and neonatal outcomes where found to be improved through midwifery practice and philosophy of care, the Publication also mentioned that 87% of service need can be delivered by midwives, when educated to international standards including 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”, the statement stressed.
The NGO also used the occasion to thank its partners and donors such as UNICEF-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.
It noted that the Mother Baby Friendly Health Facility Initiative (MBFHI) funded by UNICEF-Ghana and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Ghana Health Service is promoting human rights and quality issues among others in line with global standards.