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UNFPA seeks greater investments in midwives

MidwivesThe United Nations Population (UNFPA) has called for collaborative efforts toward greater investments to increase the number of midwives in Liberia and enhance the quality and reach of their services.

“Strong political commitment and investment in midwives is needed to save millions of lives every year”; says UNFPA in a statement delivered on 22 May by Program Associate Ms. Shelly Wright at the 9th graduation ceremony of the Midwifery Training Program Southeastern Region held in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County. Forty-two students graduated.

According to UNFPA, the need for strong health systems and sufficient health workers has been highlighted by the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, including Liberia, where pregnant women struggled to find available health services to ensure safe delivery.

“UNFPA is expanding midwifery services through the Mano River Midwifery Response to support resilient health systems in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia;” Ms. Wright said.

Evidence shows that midwives, who are educated and regulated to international standards, can provide 87 per cent of the essential care needed by women and their newborns.

She said UNFPA would continue to support midwifery and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights for all women. “Today, UNFPA funds more than 250 midwifery schools with books, training equipment and trained faculty, and has helped train over 15,000 midwives globally”; she added.

Ms. Wright urged the graduates to always conform to the ethics and standards of midwifery practice in the execution of their duties.

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“Practice professionally, and be respectful to one another as members of the health care team; also be kind and passionate toward your patients; especially women and their families because it is for this purpose that you have been trained;” she further told them.

She also reminded the graduates that they are advocates for their clients and hope at the time of need, saying, “Do not put personal gains before duty; keep your knowledge and skills updated frequently. Do not be afraid or too proud to say, “I don’t know” to prevent people from thinking that you know when you don’t.

This is dangerous to the life of your clients. Ask if in doubt and never reject work in rural areas. That is where the greatest Health need is. It is in the rural areas where you will improve your skills best and also make a great difference to the lives of expectant mothers, children and ill adults.”

In her keynote address, the President of the Liberia Midwifery Association, Mrs. Lucy Barh called on the newly trained midwives to always be at the service of the people. “Midwifery is a unique profession. I want you to be passionate about this profession and put the wellbeing of your clients; pregnant women and their newborns at the heart of your service;” Mrs. Barh urged.

She called for greater investment in training more midwives in Liberia; providing better job incentives and career ladder for Liberian midwives.
The Midwifery Training Program Southeastern Region was established in 1983 by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare with support from partners. Edited by Jonathan Browne

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