News

International Day of the Midwife Message - Alison Drayton

5 May 2021

Midwives play a very important role in our society. Through their phenomenal work, they protect the life of women and newborns daily and contribute to the wellness and survival of our population. Their work must be appreciated  and valued and our gratitude must be tangibly demonstrated. This can be done through adequately meeting their needs in the workplace, putting in place more efforts to enhance their capabilities and providing them with greater opportunities to further their careers.

On the International Day of the Midwife, we express thanks to our midwives for their outstanding work and their impact on humankind. We also want to draw more attention to the need to further invest in this invaluable field. The world is facing a shortage of about 900,000 midwives, according to a new report published by UNFPA, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and partners. The global midwifery workforce now stands at 1.9 million, about two thirds of what is needed, according to the State of World’s Midwifery 2021 report.

As the world battles COVID-19, women continue to get pregnant, and babies are still being born. Childbirth is a normal part of life and it does not stop because of a pandemic. However wIth the pandemic, health needs of women and new-borns have been overshadowed and midwives are being deployed to other health services. The pandemic is also causing health systems in Caribbean countries to face two great challenges in parallel. The first challenge is to preserve and maintain the continuity of the essential health services beyond those needed for COVID-19, The second is preventing and mitigating the effect of COVID-19 while working to overcome the barriers that impede vulnerable groups from being protected against the virus.

In response to the challenges, and in recognition of the pivotal role of midwives in ensuring the continuity of SRH services especially during the pandemic, in 2020, the UNFPA Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean (SROC),  through the Caribbean Regional Midwives Association (CRMA), supported the capacity of midwives across the Caribbean through webinar series which successfully hosted almost 600 participants. Midwives often operate under extenuating circumstances to help women to safely give birth, particularly in rural communities. Sometimes they even put their lives at risk to help bring new life into the world. We celebrate their unwavering efforts towards achieving the goal of zero preventable maternal deaths by 2030. We ought to continue to prioritize and invest in this honourable and self-sacrificing profession.