Lack of midwives causes rise of newborn deaths
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/4/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A new review released on June 3 by the United Nations Populations Fund and the World Health Organization reports that among 73 lower and middle-income nations, just four-Armenia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Jordan-have an adequate number of professional midwives.
Midwives are a vital necessity in developing countries, where they can ease the strain put on doctors and medical aid.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The review included China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chad, Guatemala, and Mexico, and suggested that these nations do not have adequate resources in place, which could explain how these 73 countries account for nearly all childbirth-related deaths among mothers and newborns.
There were an estimated 2.6 million stillbirths, 3 million newborn deaths, and 289,000 maternal deaths in 2013. Countries in the review made up more than 92% of those deaths.
Midwives, who can deliver babies and provide medical care to mother and child before and after the pregnancy, are a key aspect of health in poorer and developing nations; professional midwives can ease the strain put on doctors, especially those in regions where access to medical resources are scarce. Boosting midwife services could reduce the amount of costly cesarean births, which could save up to $128.5 million over three decades.
In a conference call, president of the International Confederation of Midwives Frances Day-Stirk said that, "More than three-quarters face serious shortages that will result in unnecessary deaths of women and babies."
The groups "State of the World's Midwifery" report said that many of those nations lack the infrastructure to allow for quality care from midwives, and usually lack regulatory systems to make sure midwives are adequately trained.
Bangladesh is one country that has shown some improvement, following a 2010 effort to train 3,000 midwives. Though this helped the country reach key health goals, birth-related mortality rates remain high.
Babatunde Osotimehin, a physician and executive director of the United Nations' Population Fund spoke with reporters about the issue. "Women and girls' right to maternal and reproductive health are essential," he said. They "need and deserve respectful, compassionate care before, during, and after pregnancy and birth. This is not the case in many countries. This needs to change."
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