newborn John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images

Midwives Deliver Lives

Midwives could save a million women and children's lives every year, but midwifery is still chronically neglected and underfunded by governments and communities around the world. It is time for midwifery to receive the attention that it deserves as a practical, highly cost-effective solution to a global health problem.

TORONTO – The past few decades have brought incredible progress for women and children’s health. Since 1990, preventable child deaths have declined by 50%, and maternal mortality has fallen by 45%. But far too many mothers and newborns are still dying from preventable causes. With access to qualified midwives, many of their lives could be saved.

Each year, one million children, on average, still die during their first day of life; more than million babies are stillborn; and more than 300,000 mothers die during pregnancy and childbirth – a death toll exceeding the entire population of Namibia. A majority of these deaths – 56%, to be precise – are preventable.

If all women had access to a midwife during pregnancy and labor, not to mention facilities equipped to provide basic emergency care, one million lives would be saved every year. And yet midwifery is still chronically neglected and underfunded by governments and communities around the world.

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