Midwives are pillars of health and stability in their communities. Whether providing care for pregnant women or counseling and support after birth for mom and baby, these health heroes make all the difference in the world. Midwives, many of them women, are not only local leaders, but are part of an important tradition of women’s leadership in health and wellness. It’s fitting, then, that in Monday’s morning plenary here at the ICM Triennial Congress in Toronto, women leaders from across global health and wellness were in the spotlight. Beginning the morning, Jane Philpott, the Minister for Health of Canada, remarked on her experience as a family doctor, delivering children in high-resource settings in Canada as well as low-resource, rural settings in Niger, where “one in seven women would expect to die in childbirth.” Remarking on the everyday leadership midwives carry … Read More
No woman should die during pregnancy or childbirth. Period. How to prevent this? Midwives. As midwives converge on Toronto for the 31st International Confederation of Midwives Triennial, we are reminded just how essential midwives are to the care of mothers, babies, families, and communities around the world. From antenatal care to labor and delivery and nutrition counseling, the work of midwives ensures that mom and baby have the best chance to survive birth and thrive as a new family. When properly trained, midwives are able to provide 87 percent of essential maternal care, helping share the burden with doctors and other health professionals so that mothers receive quality, confident care from midwives. Yet the world sits on the precipice of a midwifery crisis, because there simply aren’t enough of these heroes in communities around the world. Today, only 22 percent … Read More
For Wreatha Carner, it’s the little things that she knows can make the biggest difference. A Certified Nurse Midwife based out of Las Cruces, New Mexico, Wreatha has spent this year serving as a Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) Volunteer teaching, training, and working alongside midwives in Tanzania. “As a clinical instructor, some of my 4 or 5 person student groups perform as many as 15 births between them in 8 hours,” said Wreatha, describing the busy conditions under which midwives work. In a country facing a dire shortage of midwives and other skilled health professionals, only 4 midwives are in service for every 10,000 patients across Tanzania. So in addition to training and teaching the next generation of Tanzanian midwives – helping to build capacity, strengthen the pipeline of skilled midwives in Tanzania, and ultimately “train the trainers” for … Read More
A mother has an unplanned Caesarian and her tubes are tied without her consent. A woman is scolded when her child dies of malaria when she admits he was not sleeping under a mosquito net. A baby is delivered by the maid at the health center because the midwife has not responded to the late night call. All of these are examples of disrespectful care that women should not need to tolerate. Yet too many women have too few choices: they have no money for private care, few resources, poor education, and a growing fear of health care that only get worse when they receive such inadequate and disrespectful care. There is no more vulnerable time in a woman’s life than when she is laboring, anticipating the birth of her child. The global lifetime maternal mortality risk is 1 in … Read More
I have served as a Nurse Educator in Liberia for nearly a year, and have learned more in these months of service than I have in a long time. Every day, I am inspired by another challenge. And while I am not sure I could have done this work earlier in my career – I think I needed to grow into my role and gain some diverse experiences to feel confident – I do often feel like a new nurse, challenged and inspired, all over again. Most of all, I learned this year that no matter where I go or how long I work as a nurse, when I walk into a new clinical setting, I will be tested. My background is very different than my Liberian colleagues and it took time to adjust to my surroundings. But my fellow midwives … Read More
In the days ahead of International Day of the Midwife, Seed Global Health joined The Association of Malawian Midwives and several other partners to convene, empower, and champion Malawi’s midwives. More than 75 participants from across Malawi, including training institutions and students, were present for this conference. The photos below were taken by our Malawi Country Representative, Dr. Bridget Malewezi, during the gathering.