International Midwives’ Day
Midwives around the world celebrate the 'International Day of the Midwife' on May 5th each year. The International Confederation of Midwives established the idea of the 'International Day of the Midwife' following suggestions and discussion among member associations in the late 1980s, then launched the initiative formally in 1992. The aim of the day is to celebrate midwifery and to bring awareness of the importance of the midwives' work to as many people as possible. In 2014 the International Day of the Midwife engages stakeholders across the world to campaign and advocate for investment in midwives and midwifery globally as this result in the wellbeing of mothers and newborns.
A theme to emphasise a particular aspect of midwives' work is agreed in advance for each year's International Day of Midwives. In 2012 the International Day of the Midwife built on the achievements of the Road to Durban campaign in 2011 to engage stakeholders and provide a powerful platform to campaign globally for commitments to investing in midwifery education, employment and deployment. Last year theme continued on the previous years’ with the theme for 2013 being ‘The World Needs Midwives Now More than Ever’! With the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) rapidly approaching, the message that “the world needs midwives more than ever” is becoming more urgent.
In 2014 the theme "Midwives changing the world one family at a time" sends a strong signal that midwives provide care that changes families, communities and the world by saving the lives of mothers and babies. This theme also resonates with the overarching theme that has accompanied the International Day of the Midwives for the past years: "The World Needs Midwives Now More Than Ever". Both themes underline the importance of midwives and their work on a local as well as global level. It also supports the case that adequately educated and resourced professional midwives are crucial to achieve MDGs 4 and 5. Furthermore, the message that ‘Midwives Save Lives’ is increasingly relevant as the 2015 deadline for realising the MDGs draws ever closer.
Midwifery care for women and their babies is an investment in family and community that promotes healthy growth and well-being for present and future generations. Therefore, adequately resourced and educated midwives are crucial to reducing global maternal and neonatal mortality, and substantially improve the experience of childbearing women before, during and after childbirth. Midwives help to build healthy families – in the midwives’ hands is the key to the future. As autonomous practitioners, midwives are specialized in normal pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, striving to help women have a healthy pregnancy and a natural birth experience. Moreover they are trained to recognize and deal with deviations from the norm and work in collaboration with other health professionals for the safety of mother and baby. Midwives have also an important task in counselling and education not only for women, but also for the family and the community. This work includes preconception care, antenatal education and preparation for parenthood, women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and childcare. This is the foundation to healthy families which reflects a healthy nation.
Inherent in this year’s theme “Midwives changing the world one family at a time”, is that midwives work has such an impact that it changes the world. The world starts with a family, which is also reflected in the theme. We all know that behind the abstract term of maternal/neonatal mortality, many tragedies are hidden and it is not just a loss of a mother/neonate to be mourned but it affects the whole family, community and ultimately the world.
This year’s theme indicates the important role midwives play in society. Improving maternal health and reducing child mortality are at the core of Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses’ vision: every mother and newborn child should receive professional midwifery care! The MUMN strives to emphasise that the care of the midwife is far more than being hospital based, but suggests that midwifery care should be based in the primary health care. The MUMN lobby for: a) more resources for midwifery, b) midwifery education, and c) recognition of the unique professional role of midwives.
The MUMN, on numerous occasions, advised policymakers to implement change by lobbying for adequate midwifery resources and recognition of the unique professional role of midwives. MUMN also presented several documents to policymakers to provide a platform for the way forward of the midwifery profession, whereby the midwives’ commitment to families, within a functioning health system and supportive environment, will be a core element of primary health care.
Midwifery care is unique in the way it can influence the health of future generations through giving new parents the physical well-being, confidence and self-esteem that arise from a positive birth experience, through breast-feeding support and nutritional education, through assistance with family planning and spacing, and through encouragement of women’s knowledge of their own bodies.
On a positive note the MUMN would like to thank all stakeholders involved in the newly launched service through the: ‘Discharge Liaison Midwives’, where mothers during the postnatal period receive midwifery care as a core element within the community. This new service emphasise the midwives’ commitment to families, within a functioning health system and supportive environment.
The MUMN Council would like to take this opportunity to wish all the Midwives and Midwifery students a Happy Midwives’ Day and together with other International Midwifery Organisations emphasise the importance of the midwives’ role and activities in order to render a quality service to their clients.