#IDM2016: Key Resources for Midwifery

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By: Jacquelyn Caglia, Associate Director, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


As we celebrate International Day of the Midwife on May 5th, now is an especially important time to acknowledge midwives for their hard work in ensuring the health of women and newborns before, during, and after childbirth. The theme for 2016 is “Women and Newborns: The Heart of Midwifery.” We’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources about midwifery around the world:

  1. The State of the World’s Midwifery 2014: A Universal Pathway. A Woman’s Right to Health
    This report by UNFPA, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), WHO, and others is the most up-to-date resource we have on the world’s midwifery workforce. The report, available in English, French, and Spanish, provides key resources about the critical role midwives play in the health system in more than 70 low- and middle-income countries as well as a fact sheet with key messages and a compelling infographic highlighting quality and impact.
  2. The Lancet Series on Midwifery
    Also in 2014, The Lancet published a groundbreaking series of papers on the vital contributions midwives make to ensuring high-quality health services for women and newborns. The executive summary of the series provides an overview of the four main papers, key messages, and the evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care.
  3. Call the Midwife: A Conversation About the Rising Global Midwifery Movement
    Last March, we hosted a day-long symposium about midwifery with our partners from the Wilson Center and UNFPA. The expert speakers represented a diversity of country perspectives and shared evidence needed to build the case for scaling up midwifery. A summary of the rich discussion was published on our blog; video recordings and archived presentations from the expert speakers are available through the Wilson Center.
  4. Bill of Rights for Women and Midwives
    This resource from the ICM lays out the basic human rights for women and midwives across the globe, providing a helpful reminder of the core ethics and competencies we should all be striving to uphold in support of women, newborns, and midwives.
  5. Advocacy Approaches to Promote Midwives and the Profession of Midwifery
    This policy brief from the White Ribbon Alliance sheds light on how to influence policymakers, involve the media, engage youth, and mobilize communities in support of midwifery while also strengthening the capacity of midwives as advocates.
  6. What Prevents Quality Midwifery Care?
    This article, published this week in PLOS ONE, systematically maps out the social, economic and professional barriers to quality of care in low- and middle-income countries from the provider perspective. The authors’ findings underscore the need for a gender-responsive, equity-driven and human rights-based approach to strengthening midwifery, as called for in the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent’s Health. In order to meet the health-related Sustainable Development Goals, we must improve the experience of those in the midwifery profession as well as the quality of health services they provide.

Do you have any other resources on midwifery that you’d like to recommend? If so, email us at mhtf@hsph.harvard.edu. We’d love to hear from you!

Please join us in celebrating the International Day of the Midwife! More information about the campaign may be found on the International Confederation of Midwives‘ website. Follow along on Twitter by using #IDM2016.

Read an interview with Rima Jolivet, our Maternal Health Technical Director, on the current and future landscape of midwifery!