International Day of the Midwife 2016

International Day of the Midwife, 5 May, 2016 in Pyongyang

The theme of this year’s International Day of the Midwife was Women and Newborns: The Heart of Midwifery, and on this day – and everyday – UNFPA salutes the contribution of midwives to saving the lives of women, adolescent girls and newborns, sometimes under very difficult circumstances, in hard-to-reach communities and in humanitarian emergencies.

On this International Day of the Midwife, UNFPA DPRK renewed its commitment to working with partners in DPRK to strengthen midwifery skills and capacities by hosting a seminar with national and international partners. The event was attended by donors, UN agencies and international NGOs working in the health sector in DPRK. Midwifery students from the Pyongyang Medical College demonstrated their midwifery skills under supervision of their tutor and presentations were made by the OB/GYN section chief, Pyongyang Medical College and the International Programme Coordinator, UNFPA.

The presentations at the event highlighted the achievements made in midwifery training and practice through the support of UNFPA, such as the upgrading of the curriculum to meet international standards and the provision of training aids, such as mannequins, to training institutions, and exposed the gaps that exist in midwifery in DPRK (such as the dire shortage of midwives which is at 0.3 per 1,000 in DPRK). Participants were accorded the opportunity to interact with national partners through questions and answers as well as suggestions on how midwifery can be improved in the DPRK.

Competent and supported midwives working in communities are uniquely positioned to provide the concerned, respectful and culturally sensitive care a woman needs during pregnancy and childbirth. Midwifery is equally important for newborns during the critical first month of life, and is a significant contribution to SRH in general.

Around the world, almost 300,000 women lose their lives every year while giving life! In addition, almost 3 million babies do not survive their first four weeks of life. In other words, every two minutes, a woman dies of complications during her pregnancy or childbirth.

The current global shortage of some 300,000 professional midwives means that women and their newborns die from complications that could have been easily prevented by a Midwife, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills, the right equipment and the right support.