May 5th is the International Day of the Midwife, a “day is to celebrate midwifery and to bring awareness of the importance of midwives’ work to as many people as possible.” Since the late 1980s the celebration has been taking place, and in recent years, increasing the percentage of births attended by a skilled professional has been a major focus of the maternal health community. Access to skilled care is considered to be part of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 that seeks to “Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health” in addition to reducing maternal mortality. Midwives and other skilled attendants are able to have major impacts on both MDG 5 and MDG 4 to reduce child mortality.
Later this year, at the Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), a cohort of organizations will release the State of the World’s Midwifery Report. According to UNFPA and the ICM:
“The role of skilled birth attendants, in particular midwives and others with midwifery competencies, is widely acknowledged as being crucial to addressing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, and to promoting women’s and children’s health…The report, which will be the first of its kind, is intended to facilitate midwifery strengthening around the world.”
To learn more about the International Day of the Midwife, the State of the World’s Midwifery Report or the International Confederation of Midwives, visit the ICM website.