India joins the world in celebrating the International Day of the Midwife 2023, an annual event on May 5th dedicated to recognizing the critical role midwives play in ensuring safe and healthy childbirth experiences for women and newborns worldwide. In India, the event is being organized by the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) India and Jhpiego India, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Midwives are highly trained health professionals who provide essential care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. They play a crucial role in improving maternal and newborn health outcomes globally, and their contribution to society is especially vital in India, where maternal and neonatal mortality rates are still high.
According to the Indian government’s Sample Registration System (SRS) data, India’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) was 113 per 100,000 live births in 2021, while the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) was 23 per 1,000 live births. These rates are still high, despite significant progress made in recent years.
The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has been leading the charge to ensure that midwives can continue to provide high-quality care during the pandemic. They have been advocating for midwives’ inclusion in national COVID-19 response plans, providing resources and guidance on how to keep midwives safe while caring for patients, and supporting midwives’ mental health and well-being.
The International Day of the Midwife 2023 provides an opportunity to celebrate the work of midwives and acknowledge the critical role they play in improving maternal and newborn health outcomes in India. WRA India and Jhpiego India are two organizations that have been at the forefront of efforts to improve maternal and newborn health in India through their work to support midwives.
WRA India is a network of organizations and individuals who work to promote maternal and newborn health in India. They advocate for policies and programs that support midwives and improve access to quality maternal and newborn health services. Jhpiego India is a global health organization that works to improve the health of women and families by supporting health workers, including midwives, through training, mentoring, and capacity-building.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also been a significant supporter of efforts to improve maternal and newborn health in India. The foundation has invested in programs that support midwives, including the LaQshya program, which aims to improve the quality of care during labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period.
On the International Day of the Midwife 2023, WRA India, Jhpiego India, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are coming together to celebrate the work of midwives and recognize their essential role in promoting maternal and newborn health in India. The event will feature discussions and presentations by midwives, policymakers, and advocates, highlighting the challenges and opportunities for improving midwifery care in India.
The International Day of the Midwife 2023 provides an opportunity to celebrate the essential role midwives play in improving maternal and newborn health outcomes globally. In India, organizations such as WRA India and Jhpiego India, along with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are working to support midwives and improve access to quality maternal and newborn health services. Let us recognize and support the critical work of midwives and work towards a world where every woman has access to safe, respectful, and high-quality maternity care.