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Invest in midwifery to make progress on global neonatal mortality says RCM on new reports

Invest in midwifery to make progress on global neonatal mortality says RCM on new reports

Tuesday, 20th May 2014
 
Today The Lancet has published a new series of papers on the progress and challenges in improving newborn survival around the world.
 
Commenting on the findings, Jacque Gerrard, director for England at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said:  “Many of the millions of infant deaths occur in the neonatal period with many of them due to complications in pregnancy.
 
“Many of these deaths could be prevented with skilled care before, during and following birth. The hope was that Millennium Development Goal 4 would help to reduce childhood mortality, but we realise as we approach 2015 this goal will not be achieved. It therefore needs to be part of the post 2015 agenda to tackle this problem.
 
“Countries such as the UK that donate and support aid need to put more focus on the health of newborns. Investing in early life will pay dividends later in the child’s life and on the long term health of nations. Improvement and investment by governments in healthcare systems such as higher quality neonatal care is key to having healthier outcomes for newborns.
 
 
“One of the most important ways improvements can be made is to invest in the midwifery and skilled birth attendant workforce, so that better care can be delivered in the crucial and critical period around birth. We need to strengthen the workforce by improving education for midwives and skilled birth attendants and by ensuring midwifery is effectively regulated. Having strong midwifery organisations in each country is also important, because they can fight and advocate on behalf of a country’s midwives and women.
 
“We need 350,000 more midwives across the world and we need them urgently. Well educated and motivated midwives are needed to support and improve breastfeeding at a global level. This will also contribute to better health outcomes for the baby and in the long term better health for the nation.
 
“There is also a need to invest in the education of women. Education empowers women. It enables them to make more knowledgeable and informed decisions about their future and to fight for equality and fairer treatment in their country.
 
“Whilst the UK has very low levels of neonatal mortality this report shows that we are among the countries making the least progress. This is a concern and more investment is needed in our midwifery workforce to care for pregnant women to address this. The UK has the wealth, the knowledge, the evidence base and the infrastructure to change this.”
 
The RCM is running a three year Global Midwifery Twinning Project (GMTP) to help improve and build capacity in midwifery associations in the countries it has twinned with in Cambodia, Nepal and Uganda. For more information visit the RCM’s GMTP website at:
 
 
For further information please contact the RCM Press Office on 020 7312 3456, pressofficer@rcm.org.uk
 
Ends
 
Notes to editors
 
 
The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. We are the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are our members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. We support and represent our members individually and collectively in all four UK countries.  We influence on behalf of our members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care.