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SDGs: UNFPA calls for increased training, engagement of midwives  

Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin
UNFPA Executive Director

As the world pursues the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs),  the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, has called on nations to expand their midwifery schemes to help in achieving the goals.

In a statement made available to Nigerian Health Online by the Nigerian Office of the organization, the agency’s Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said midwives are very vital to attainment of the goals.

Osotimehin highlighted the roles of the professionals in not only the SDGs, but in the life of every human, as he joins the midwives to commemorate this year International Day of the Midwife, which holds May 5, worldwide.

Some of the roles played by midwives, according to Osotimehin, include supporting and promoting healthy families; empowering women and couples to choose whether, when and how often to have children.

“They also help avert sexually transmitted infections and prevent disabilities   like   obstetric   fistula, mother-to-child   transmission   of HIV and female genital mutilation.

“Preventing maternal and new-born deaths and disabilities and empowering women to make informed,  healthy choices and exercise their rights is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

“To make this happen, we need to expand   midwifery  programmes,   maintaining   the   highest   global standards, and promote an enabling environment for midwives to effectively serve the needs of women and their families,” he stated.

He lauded the health practitioners whom he said work in very trying circumstances, and render heroic and life-saving work to their fellow humans.

“Thanks to midwives, millions of women each   year   are   able   to   exercise   their   right   to   sexual  and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning.

“These   services   help   ensure   wanted,   healthy   pregnancies   and safe births. Yet, far too many women lack access to these services.  As   a result, each year more than 300,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth, some three million babies do not survive the first month of life, and another two and a  half million  babies are  stillborn,” he said.

The UNPA chief believes that most of the young and old dying could be saved by the care of well-trained midwives within the framework of strong health systems.

In appreciation of what midwives do, Osotimehin explained that UNFPA supports training and work of midwives in more than 100 countries.

“Since 2009, UNFPA has worked with partners to support over 600 midwifery schools, educating more than   80,000   midwives.   We   have   also   strengthened  national midwifery associations in 75 countries and helped enhance regulatory   framework   for  midwifery   practice   to   ensure accountability.

The theme for this year’s International Day of the Midwife  is: “Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life,” which UNFPA says underscores the critical role that  midwives play on human health.


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