Midwives are the key to local and global maternal & newborn health

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) reaffirms its support for the International Day of the Midwife 2014. The day - held on 5 May each year - was originally launched by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in 1992 as a campaigning day on which to raise awareness of midwifery and to highlight the importance of midwives’ work worldwide.

FIGO - the only global organisation representing gynecologists and obstetricians, with member associations in 125 countries/territories - strongly believes that there are excellent reasons for obstetricians and gynecologists to collaborate closely with midwives to help strengthen midwifery.

The new subtheme for 2014 is: ‘Midwives changing the world one family at a time’, which builds on the overarching longstanding theme, ‘The world needs midwives now more than ever’.

FIGO President, Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, said: ‘This new subtheme perfectly encapsulates the essence of the reach of midwifery. As multi-faceted healthcare professionals, working locally as well as globally, midwives provide a critical continuum of care not only to women and their newborns, but also to their extended families and communities. The care they provide - playing an active role in saving the lives of women and children - improves communities on a local level, and then extends outwards, helping to work towards a global realisation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, “Reduce Child Mortality” and “Improve Maternal Health” respectively.’

FIGO considers midwives to be essential collaborative partners. For example, one of FIGO’s current projects - ‘Improving the Quality of Maternal and Newborn Healthcare Services Through Accelerated Implementation of the Essential Interventions by the Healthcare Professionals’ Associations’, funded by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, involves FIGO, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the International Pediatric Association (IPA) leading a multi-stakeholder plan of action in two countries, Uganda and Indonesia. The selected Essential Interventions focus on the birth and postnatal period, covering a critical period for mothers and newborns and brings a special opportunity for obstetricians, midwives and paediatricians to work collaboratively.

Professor Arulkumaran added: ‘FIGO actively encourages its member associations to collaborate with midwifery associations - partnerships between health professional organisations (HPOs) and midwives can produce effective professional results through complementary professional strengths, effective networking, and through encouraging sustainability.’


1 http://www.internationalmidwives.org/

2 http://www.internationalmidwives.org/events/idotm/

3 http://who.int/topics/midwifery/en/

4 http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/mothers/pid/4384