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Sierra Leone News: Midwifery is key to achieving MDG 4 & 5

A group photo showing Deputy Chief Medical Officer, facilitator & participantsCountry Midwife Adviser for UNFPA, Margaret T. Mannah, on Monday said that midwifery is key in achieving the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 by 2015.
The MDG 4 deals with the reduction of child mortality and MDG 5  deals with the improvement of maternal health.
Speaking during a one-day validation workshop on the State of World Midwifery Report 2014 in Freetown, the Adviser said that the objectives of the workshop includes to validate the data and to obtain qualitative data;  to moderate a participatory debate on the state of the country’s Midwifery workforce and to identify the current challenges of providing an effective Maternal  and Newborn Health (MNH) workforce and potential solutions in this country.
Giving a background on the Report, Madam Mannah said that there is international commitment in terms of women accessing high quality midwifery services.
She said in 2010, the health of women and children feature prominently at the World Health Assembly, the G8 Summit, the AU Summit and other higher-level events.
In September, she noted that this global attention culminated in the Secretary-General of the UN launching the global strategy for women and children’s health. Some countries, she said,  have made progress on MDG 5 and 4.
The Adviser said that a midwife is recognized as a responsible and accountable professional who work in partnership with women to give necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and postpartum period.
She said mothers, pregnant women and newborns are dying because the world lacks midwives, adding that if enough midwife are trained they will be able to save these lives.
On average, she said  communities need six midwives per 1000 births, adding that more health workers are needed urgently.
The Country Midwife Adviser said that up to 3.6 million deaths could be averted in 58 countries, if more midwives are trained.
In her statement, President of the West African College of Nursing, Amelia Eva Gabba said that all over the world especially in developing countries, high value has been placed on the essential role of Midwives in their work towards eradicating Maternal and Child mortality and morbidity which calls for greater implementation of skilled staff on the ground.
She said that the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), alongside UN Agencies, WHO and a range of other international partners, are committed to addressing maternal mortality and morbidity through greater access to essential midwifery care worldwide, particularly in developing countries where 90% of maternal deaths occur.
President of Sierra Leone Midwives and also Assistant Principal National School of Midwifery, Dr Joan Shepherd said that globally all countries that are training midwives are asked to give  current updates on the status of midwifery in their countries.
She said that Sierra Leone has made progress so far, as there are accelerated training to attract a lot of State Registered Nurses  and State Enrolled Community Health Nurses.
Dr Shepherd said that from 2011-2013 “we have trained well over 300 midwives”, adding that midwives are key to safe motherhood and they are also critical to take care of new born babies and mothers.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sarian Kamara expressed government’s commitment in training and retaining of midwives in the country.
By Abibatu Kamara
Wednesday Janauary 29, 2014

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