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Toyin Saraki makes case for more investment in midwives
Mrs. Toyin Saraki,

Toyin Saraki makes case for more investment in midwives

Ahead of the implementation of the global post-2015 development agenda, Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, H.E. (Mrs.) Toyin Saraki has emphasised the critical need for prompt action to improve availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of midwifery in Nigeria, and in Africa.

Speaking during the first annual Midwives Scientific Conference at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital’s Department of Nursing, Mrs. Saraki,  who was elated as the Wellbeing Foundation Africa partners Johnson & Johnson and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine with the much-lauded Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care (EmONC) training for midwives and nurses in Kwara State, reiterated the need for increased investment in the training and continuous development of nurses in order to save lives of the thousands of Nigerian women who die annually from preventable causes related to pregnancy and Child birth.

Mrs. Saraki, an International Council of Midwives (ICM) Global Goodwill Ambassador, who was pleased that the conference was holding shortly after the International Day of the Midwife stated  “According to the 2015 Save The Children’s State Of The World’s Mothers Report, my country Nigeria remains sadly, the 10th most dangerous country to bring a child into the world, with the tragedy of preventable stillbirths all too common, and often unrecorded,”

She continued ““Yet, evidence from the State of the World’s Midwives Report shows us that providing every pregnant mother with a trained and equipped midwife, to care for her comprehensively during her confinement, can reduce maternal and newborn deaths by two thirds. As we strive, to empower and improve our outcomes through the cross-cutting shared values of improving universal health coverage, health information, midwifery education and financial inclusion, we must always remember that the state of the world’s newborns is inextricably linked to the state of the world’s mothers, and every mother’s pregnancy, and every newborn’s delivery, is a fresh chance to empower, nurture and nourish a new life, another community, and a better world.”

The Conference which began on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 and ended today with its theme as “Midwives: For a Better Tomorrow,” serves to highlight the importance of empowering midwives in order to save lives and give mothers and infants hope for a brighter, healthier future.

Keynote Speakers at the  conference included, Wellbeing Foundation Africa Global Advisory Board Member, Prof. Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Imperial College, UK,  Taga Notoma, Head, Midwifery DELSUTH; Margaret Richardson, NHS, London; and H.E Mrs. Toyin Saraki, International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Ambassador, Nigeria – represented by Mrs. Felicity Ukoko.

Despite a long-standing tradition of midwifery in Nigeria, access to skilled birth attendants is still limited in rural areas; and even now, 13% of women in Nigeria give birth without anyone present. As illustrated by the ‘State of the World’s Midwifery: A Universal Pathway, A Woman’s Right to Health’ Report, which was launched in Nigeria last November, without intervention and investment in midwives, Nigeria is poised to encounter difficulties in responding to 12.8 million pregnancies per year in light of an estimated 62% population increase by 2030.

With statistics indicating that a woman in sub-Saharan Africa is 100 times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than a woman from an industrialized nation, it is imperative that countries like Nigeria mobilize all maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) stakeholders to address this challenge. In light of this, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa will be calling for access to midwives to be specifically indicated within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) relating to maternal health. The foundation will also use its Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Affairs Council to place midwives at the very heart of the post-2015 development agenda, and call for their specific inclusion within the SDGs.


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