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More midwives for world - plea

Tuesday June 21st, 2011

The world needs more than a third of a million more midwives to prevent deaths of mothers and babies in many poor countries, a major report said yesterday.

Some 38 countries are "desperately" in need of more midwives, according to the report launched at the conference of the International Confederation of Midwives in Durban, South Africa.

Some countries, such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Haiti need to increase numbers of midwives by up to 15 times, the report says.

And it names 22 countries which need to double numbers.

The report was published by the United Nations Population Fund.

It says that some 358,000 women and 3.6 million new babies die every year from preventable complications in childbirth. Another three million babies are dead at birth.

Dr Flavia Bustreo, of the World Health Organisation, said: "If we want to stop these women and babies dying, we need to invest in skilled care. Midwives can provide such care in communities and primary health care services. They can also link women up with emergency obstetric care services if they need them."

Tags: Africa | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Nursing & Midwifery | Women’s Health & Gynaecology | World Health

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