News / Africa

Report: More Midwives Could Help Save Millions of Lives

In Durban, South Africa, midwives and their supporters hold a march, June20, 2011. The march was held in conjunction with the release of a new report calling for 112,000 additional midwives.
In Durban, South Africa, midwives and their supporters hold a march, June20, 2011. The march was held in conjunction with the release of a new report calling for 112,000 additional midwives.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

A new report says more than three and a half million lives could be saved in 58 developing countries if there were enough well-trained midwives.

The State of the World’s Midwifery 2011 was released Monday in Durban, South Africa, at the Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives. It says because of a lack of midwives, nearly 360,000 women die while pregnant or giving birth each year; about two million newborns die within the first 24 hours of life; and over two and a half million infants are stillborn.

“Midwives are very important because they provide services throughout the childbearing years of a woman. So, they cover all the needs that exist in families for reproductive health, for education, family planning, obviously everything to do with pregnancy and childbirth and, generally, sexual and reproductive health issues,” said Petra ten Hoope, midwifery adviser and a main author of the report.

Emergency situations

She said midwives are often required to handle sudden emergency situations.

“The major killers are bleeding after birth. So, the baby is born, but the placenta isn’t born and women bleed and can bleed profusely. When a baby is not positioned correctly there’s obstructed labor, as we call that, and there’s a need for an intervention for helping the baby out. There are a lot of infections after the birth,” she said.

Complications can also occur from high blood pressure and after poorly performed attempted abortions, according to the report.

“A lot of women can’t find access to real, full quality services. So they bleed a lot after other kinds of interventions to stop a pregnancy,” she said.

Petra ten Hoope
Petra ten Hoope

The report said midwives are needed in both urban and rural areas of developing countries, but especially in rural settings.

“So that women don’t have to walk far; don’t have to be transported to midwifery services during hours when they’re in these very high emergency conditions,” said ten Hoope.


112,000

The report calls for an additional 112,000 midwives, but it takes time to train them.

“In principle, full midwifery education,” she said, “takes about three years. And 50 percent of that is in the classroom, but the other 50 percent most importantly is in a clinical setting, where you learn together with experienced midwives what to do and how to do birth, how to support women, how to kind of scan for the need for interventions when things start going wrong.”

People who are already nurses may need less than three years to qualify as midwives.

“Distributing or deploying them is really not a difficult thing, though it’s very much limited by the financial situation of a country. But if we can really get them out there, the 112,000 additional [midwives] would kind of have an enormous impact,” she said.

The report also said it would help achieve the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] relating to women and child health. The MDGs are due to be reached in 2015.

The report said besides a shortage of midwives, there is also a shortage of training institutions and employment opportunities for midwives.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid