By Confidente Reporter
MORE than 300 000 women die annually during pregnancy and childbirth, while three million babies worldwide do not survive their first month of life.
This is due to the unavailability of quality healthcare, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Namibia Officer-in-Charge, Loide Amkongo, has said.
Speaking during the commemoration of the International Day of the Midwife, held last Saturday in Windhoek, Amkongo also added that 2.5 million babies are stillborn worldwide.
“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,” Amkongo said.
“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 their first month of life, and another 2.5 million babies are stillborn.
“Most of them could have been saved by the care of well-trained midwives within the framework of strong health systems.”
Amkongo added that the UNFPA strongly supports the training and work of midwives, in more than 100 countries.
“Since 2009, the 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 the regulatory framework for midwifery practices, to ensure accountability.”
Amkongo also said that this year’s theme of International Day of the Midwife, ‘Midwives, Mothers and Families: Partners for Life!’, underscores the critical role midwives play.
She added that midwives save lives, support and promote healthy families, and empower 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, Amkongo said.
She also applauded the Namibian government for improving the health status of mothers and children.
“The Ministry of Health and Social Services and various Namibian health training institutions have been facilitating Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC) and Life Saving Skills (LSS) training for midwives and student midwives, in order to improve maternal and child health. Preventing maternal and newborn 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 promoting an enabling environment for midwives to effectively serve the needs of women and their families.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015