Mr. Zenebe Akale, EMwA President pass a Happy International Day Message to all Midwives in Ethiopia

Dear all,

It is indeed an honor and a privilege to pass message on the 28th International Day of the Midwife celebration under the theme “Midwives with women: Celebrate. Demonstrate. Mobilise. Unite – our time is NOW!”. The day will be a time to celebrate the work of midwives globally, demonstrating through evidence the impact of midwives and the case for investing in midwives, mobilizing midwives, women’s and the wider community to advocate for midwife-led care and Uniting midwives and women towards a common goal of gender equality.

Every day over 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. This is one woman approximately every 2 minutes. In Ethiopia, 30 women are dying every day, 1000 women’s are dying every month and around 12,000 women’s are dying every year. Among 1.9 billion women of reproductive age (15-49 years) living in the world in 2019, 1.1 billion have a need for family planning, that is, they are either current users of contraceptives or have an unmet need for family planning. If all unmet need for modern methods were met, 52 million unintended pregnancies could be averted per year, thereby preventing the deaths of 70,000 women from pregnancy-related causes. Investments in quality midwifery care are essential to address all these gaps. (Lancet 2019). Midwives can help avert over two thirds of maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities. When midwives are educated to international standards and are supported, they can provide more than 87% of all sexual and reproductive health services including caring for women and babies throughout pregnancy and childbirth, providing contraceptives, managing sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), providing comprehensive abortion care and more which avert more than 80% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths.

Since establishment of Ethiopian Midwives Association in 1992, the association is contributing its professional part to the countries development especially in maternal, Neonatal, children, youths sexual and reproductive health areas in collaboration with different government and non-government organizations. Improving the quality of care around the time of birth, especially in low and middle income countries, has been identified as the most impactful strategy for reducing stillbirths, maternal, and neonatal deaths.

Midwives are the backbone of healthy families, communities and health systems, Midwives play a vital role in the gender equality movement and Midwives are the essential workforce for universal health coverage. Scaling up investments in quality midwifery care are central to achieving the Health SDG; eliminating maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity and ensuring universal access to sexual reproductive health and rights.

Even though, WHO has declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife but they are not celebrating their year as expected with happiness due to COVID-19 pandemic which is sweeping the world. Today, we celebrate both 2020 IDM and International Year of the Midwives and the Nurse by recognizing the role of Midwives they are playing in serving women and their newborns during the ongoing corona pandemic. Amidst the raging COVID 19 pandemic, Midwives continue to show resilience and provide life-saving services to pregnant women, ensuring healthy outcomes for women and their babies.

As the world battles COVID-19, women continue to get pregnant and babies are still being born. Childbirth doesn't stop for pandemics, and neither do midwives. Midwives are working tirelessly on the front line in health facilities risking their own lives and wellbeing to save the lives of women and newborns. Midwives, like all other frontline health workers deserve safe working conditions and respect for the work they do in providing essential care for mothers and babies despite the personal risk this presents. Therefore, the association call up the government and other partners to support midwives with the necessary personal protective equipment to protect them and sustain care for women, Newborns and their families in COVID-19 pandemic.

In closing, I call up all Midwives to unite and demonstrate your compassionate care while providing quality maternal and newborn health.

Happy International Day of the Midwife!!!