BRUSSELS – The latest Global Health Policy Forum – a monthly event convened by the European Commission to foster exchange with partners on global health issues – focused on Human Resources for Health. UNFPA took advantage of the opportunity to present highlights of its recent report, The State of World's Midwifery 2011: Delivering Health, Saving Lives, originally released in June.
The report provides the first comprehensive analysis of midwifery services and issues in countries where the need is greatest. Mothers, pregnant women and newborn babies are dying because the world doesn’t have enough midwives and other skilled health workers. In some of the poorest countries, as few as 13% of all deliveries are assisted by a midwife or health worker with midwifery skills.
The report concluded that 112,000 health workers with midwifery skills are urgently needed in 38 countries to meet MDG 5 to improve maternal health. We need to strengthen health systems with skilled health workers because, as UNFPA’s Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said during the report’s launch, “Safe childbirth isn’t a luxury. It is, after all, a human right.”