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5,000 Midwives Call on UK Government to Save More Lives

Today I delivered a petition to International Development minister Stephen O’Brien MP on behalf of 5,000 midwives from 76 countries.

The ‘Midwives Save Lives’ petition was launched at the International Confederation of Midwives conference earlier this year and calls upon global leaders to invest more in midwives and health workers.

Midwives know best how crucial it is that a pregnant women and her baby have access to health workers with the right skills, in the right place and at the right time.

Thousands of mothers and newborn babies die every day because of this critical shortage of midwives.

Through this petition, midwives from around the world are joining Save the Children, the White Ribbon Alliance and International Confederation of Midwives in saying this situation cannot be allowed to continue any longer.

Minister O’Brien said he was delighted to receive the petition and supported the call for more midwives and health workers with midwifery skills.

He agreed that health workers are essential for improving women’s and children’s health and that confirmed that the UK government is committed to supporting this agenda.

Georgina Taylor (White Ribbon Alliance); Louise Holly (Save the Children); Stephen O'Brien and Francis Day Stirk (President ICM)

Missing midwives

I had brought a copy of our Missing Midwives report along to the meeting in case the Minister didn’t have one but I didn’t need to as he already had one out on his desk.

Mr O’Brien said that he had kept hold if after participating in the launch of the report earlier this year and remarked that he had enjoyed meeting our ambassadors and pregnant mums!

We’re working with the White Ribbon Alliance and International Confederation of Midwives to organise handovers of the petition to key decision-makers in many countries – see this example from Uganda.

Lobbying leaders

We’re helping to make sure the voices of midwives are heard before the UN General Assembly in September where world leaders will meet to discuss their progress on maternal and newborn health.

We’re calling on the UK and other governments to make further commitments to close the global health worker gap. If all of the poorest women and children are to have access to the healthcare they need we need at least another 3.5 million health workers including 350,000 midwives

Take action

We also need to make sure they are supported to work in the places of greatest need and are fully rewarded for the great job that they do.

The clock is ticking as the UN General Assembly approaches. Please join us and midwives around the world in calling for the UK to take action on midwives.

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