A new report called, “Missing Midwives,” from Save The Children calls for more midwives in the developing world. According to the report, over a million mothers and newborns die each year from complications that could be prevented by the presence of midwives. In the poorest, least developed nations about one in three women give birth without any trained help.
As many as 350,000 trained professionals are needed to reduce deaths. “It doesn’t have to be complicated,” said Save the Children Chief Executive Justin Forsyth. “No mother should face giving birth without help.”
Save the Children stimates that over 40,000 lives a year could be saved just by having a trained professional present who can dry and stimulate a newborn to help it breathe.
From Reuters: “History suggests these deaths can be avoided. British Prime Minister David Cameron has highlighted how the introduction of a British national midwifery program in the 1930s cut maternal deaths 80 percent over 15 years.”
One of the biggest obstacles is the fact that the job of midwife in a developing country can be extremely hard. The women are over-worked and underpaid. They have to do their jobs in dangerous or otherwise inhospitable climates. Health-care workers from developing countries would rather practice in more accommodating, richer nations. The incentives need to there. “We are calling on rich and poor country governments to put health workers at the heart of their plans,” Forsyth said. Getting midwives to the places they’re needed most will require strong financial and political support from all sides. “Without it, mums and babies will continue to die needlessly every day.”