SDGs: UNFPA calls for increased training, engagement of midwives
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.