Take the Pledge

On Friday I attended the launch of Save The Children’s campaign to increase the number of midwives throughout the World. One in three women sadly give birth without any expert help. I don’t really need to point out the consequences of this but they include the deaths of 1000 women and 2000 babies A DAY! This figure is staggering in 2011.

The Missing Midwives report states that women giving birth at home often only have a dirty blade to cut the umbilical cord and then use herbs to to try and combat infections. More babies die from lack of oxygen at birth than of malaria.

Department for International Development minister Steven O’Brien says as global citizens we are all equally responsible, we have to help empower women to make the right choices for their health and their children.

It doesn’t take much to train people and it is relatively cheap compared to here in the UK. Just a simple delivery kit , which comes in a tiny bag, can ensure a clean delivery and reduce infection and giving anyone that calls themselves a midwife the skills and information to enable a safe delivery would save so many mothers and babies lives.

To put it all into perspective, Midwife Suzanne Saunders-Blundell spoke on Friday about her experience in Monrovia, Liberia where she was invited to spend time at the maternity hospital. There was no running water, some women live hours or even days away from the hospital, the electricity is serviced by a generator which is liable to stop working, there are no gloves, sterilising equipment or curtains between the beds. Sometimes there are three women sharing one bed with bare mattresses and on a bad day there can be thirty women in labour to just two midwives. We have no idea how lucky we are here.

This celebrity backed campaign estimates that there is a global shortage of midwives by 350,000 and if that shortage was met more than a million new born babies would survive each year and many mothers saved.

In the UK there are 749,000 births each year with 26,825 midwives while in Rwanda 400,000 babies are born with just 46 midwives available.

What we mustn’t forget is that in 1990 12 million children died before the age of five and that figure has been reduced to 8 million, so there is progress, just not enough.

In September at the United Nations World Leaders will come together and they could make a difference by supporting the call for 350,000 more health workers.

What can you do? You can click here on this pledge and you can tell everyone you know about it. Every child has a right to live and every mother/father has a right to a healthy supported birth.

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2 thoughts on “Born To…Live – ‘Missing Midwives’

  1. You are so right, Nova, we are very lucky. I never realized.

    Posted on April 4, 2011 at 10:56 pm
  2. Brilliant post Nova. I volunteer for Save The Children which I’ve blogged about a few times now so I’m very passionate about this.

    Posted on April 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm