|3 pillars of midwifery|
|Saturday, 05 May 2012 00:00|
Midwives play a critical role in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality thus promoting good health and making pregnancies and childbirth safe. The International Day of the Midwife is celebrated annually on May 5 to raise awareness of midwifery at every level within countries, regions and throughout the world.
One of the fundamental objectives of this event is to continually inform the global community that adequately resourced and well educated midwives play a critical role in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality for favourable experiences of child-bearing women before, during and after child birth.
However, the celebration day comes at time when midwives in Zimbabwe note with profound concern that the proportion of women dying as a result of pregnancy and child-birth complications has increased. Zimbabwe’s statistics show that the maternal mortality ratio was 725/100 000 in 2007 and according to the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey 20010-2011the ratio is currently at 960/100 000 live births.
Such a problem coupled with a growing number of orphans has significant implications for child survival.
Evidence shows that when mothers die, the risk of dying among children is increased, a fact that should be everyone’s business and campaign because of its negative impact on the individuals, families and communities at large.
Midwives mourn for the women who died but with hope that the current and future population of childbearing women in Zimbabwe will experience safer pregnancy and childbirth.
Midwives believe that the Zimbabwe Government is well aware of the problem of maternal and child mortality in the country and taking drastic steps to address the issue that ‘No mother should have to risk her life or that of her unborn baby by going through pregnancy and child birth without expert care.’ We, midwives strongly support the principle that “every child-bearing woman should have access to care from a competent or skilled midwife”.
Zimbabwe needs midwives now more than ever to address the MDGS 4 and 5 for 2015 and beyond, not only in terms of the numbers but also in quantity and quality. Central to quality is the critical issues of midwifery training that has to be competency-based, midwifery practice that has to be surprised, monitored and evaluated and application of scientific evidence that is known to support reproductive health interventions.
The simple yet evident truth is that midwives go through midwifery training based on art and science unique to midwifery as a profession in its own right.
As we celebrate this day in Zimbabwe, midwives seek to inform the Government that midwifery education, practice and regulation are the three pillars of sound midwifery care and therefore need urgent attention in addition to the value-added by creating an adequately resourced working environment.
Research has shown that maternal and neonatal deaths are significantly reduced in countries which invest in midwives. Midwives save lives of women who bring into the national communities varied members of the society each with a specific role to play in the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe.
Based on their reproductive function, child-bearing women are an essential commodity which needs to be secure and protected. Zimbabwe needs competent, well educated and regulated midwives who are recognised for the work they do to push the agenda for safe motherhood for improved maternal and neonatal care and midwifery services.
lDr Christina Mudokwenyu-Rawdon is the chairperson for White Ribbon Alliance, Zimbabwe (WRAZW). For more information email email@example.com