Poor maternal health, including devastating consequences such as stillbirth and newborn death, is an urgent issue to tackle. Midwives4All is an initiative of the Swedish MFA to spread knowledge about the benefits of midwives and evidence-based midwifery. We believe in the power of networks to achieve change.
The purpose of midwives4all is to spark engagement and greater discussion on the benefits of investing in the midwifery workforce as well as highlighting the benefits of evidence-based midwifery. In 2013 alone, 289 000 women died worldwide from childbirth complications. Nearly 3 million newborns die in the first month of life and 2.6 million newborns are stillborn each year. The vast majority of these women and children lose their lives due to complications and illnesses that could have been prevented. Expanding the ranks of well–trained midwives working alongside other health professionals could save thousands of lives every year. And yet in too many countries this profession still doesn’t exist.
Midwives4all will highlight the importance of midwifery in broad cooperation with a range of different stakeholders. Together, we will draw on our networks to innovate, share knowledge and make an impact. We will use a co-creative and innovative communication approach. The platform itself is designed to work as infrastructure and as an ecosystem for conversation beyond the acronyms.
We use the State of the World’s Midwifery report and The Lancet’s series on midwifery as a starting point. This, together with stories of best practices, will give us a good basis for discussion.
As early as 1751 the Collegium Medicum reported to the Swedish parliament that “of 651 cases of women who died in childbirth, 400 could have been saved if they had had adequate access to a midwife.” At that time the maternal mortality rate in Sweden was almost 900 per 100 000 live births – higher than almost any country in the world today. One century later Sweden’s maternal mortality rate had decreased to 230 due to the presence throughout the country of midwives trained in safe delivery techniques, including infection prevention.
The facts are clear, the evidence is there. Let us recognise the midwifery profession as the life-saver and agent of change that it is and can be. Why, you may ask? Because we are convinced that it is the smart thing to do. That is why we want as many people as possible to take part in this conversation. Join us at @midwives4all and facebook.com/midwives4all.