Oct 23, 2013, 12:23 PM
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Fatim Badjie, yesterday presided over the launching of the State of the World’s Midwifery Report entitled: “Delivering Health, Saving Lives” at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
The midwifery report is a publication, first of its kind, which provides a deep analysis of the situation of midwives in the world. It raises issues of availability of the services of midwives, which are essential in addressing the reduction of maternal and new born morbidity and mortality. The report was prepared based on data collected from 58 countries, including The Gambia.
In her launching statement, the Health minister stated that every day around the world, about 35,000 women experience birth complications out of which 900 are likely to die if the service of a skilled professional such as midwives is not available or accessible in time.
According to Minister Badjie, midwives play a critical role in the delivery of health services, particularly those relating to maternal and neonatal health.
She stated that the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the health related MDG 4 which seeks to reduce child mortality, and MDG 5 which seeks to improve maternal health, cannot be attained without the services of the required number of midwives distributed equitably around the world.
“Achieving the MDGs, therefore, requires strong commitment at global, national and local levels with the full participation of individual families and communities,” she said, adding that the availability of adequate numbers of a well-educated and motivated midwifery workforce is a prerequisite for a well-functioning health care system.
In her view, investing in midwives training and remuneration is a wise and justified move to health system strengthening, and a strategy to enhance sustainable development.
Minister Badjie used the occasion to commend the UNFPA for their support towards the health sector, and for spearheading the production of the state of the world’s midwifery report, which she added, will continue to propel actors to invest in midwives.
Speaking earlier at the launching ceremony, the UNFPA Regional Director for Africa, Bunmi Makinwa, said the state of the world’s midwifery 2011 is a result of the collaborative efforts of 30 partners with common goals to strengthen midwifery in order to promote maternal and newborn health.
According to him, the report is the first of its kind, and it provides information on the state of midwifery in 58 countries.
Makinwa pointed out that the decision to write the report is premised on the concerns of partners that some 350,000 women die while pregnant or giving birth each year.
He disclosed that many countries are yet to meet the WHO recommended threshold of 6 midwives per 1,000 live births in order to ensure full coverage and quality services.
However, he noted that The Gambia has done well in this regard, as the country has a ratio of 5 midwives per 1,000 live births.
This, he added, places The Gambia ahead of most countries in West Africa as surveyed in the report.
Momodou Musa Baro, president of the Gambia Nurses and Midwives Association, said his association is a merger of the various nurses and midwives associations that existed independently in The Gambia.
He stated that the merger was aimed at generating a new spirit of solidarity, dedication, devotion and professionalism.