An introduction to Midwives in Focus
This blog was written by Dr Sally Pezaro, Project Lead, Midwives in Focus
Join us on 13th January at 2 pm (GMT) as we discuss the Midwives in Focus project and launch a new NNCGSI challenge!
Globally, there is an overwhelming desire to improve outcomes for women and all people who birth along with their newborns. The good news here is that should midwives be integrated into health systems in the context of multidisciplinary teams and meet international standards globally, the majority of maternal and newborn deaths could be averted. As such, there is now a global call to scale up care by midwives. Yet in many countries and contexts, midwives remain undervalued and unable to fulfill their true potential. The serious and longstanding under-investment in midwives can largely be attributed to gender, social and professional related factors along with the economic disempowerment of midwives and the women and childbearing people they care for. Thus, despite there being a growing number of evidence-based interventions provided by midwives to both prevent and treat complications, and models of midwifery care evidenced as best practice to aid in this task, the midwifery workforce must first be wholly valued and optimised through investment.
I have always wanted to be a midwife. It is who I am, more than a role to fulfill. As such, I feel deeply connected to the profession in which I humbly and gratefully belong. This passion for midwifery implores me to put the profession on the map and empower it to shine as a whole. Hence, I am utterly delighted and proud to now invest in midwives through the launch of our new ‘Midwives in Focus’ initiative to enhance perceptions and increase the value placed upon the midwifery profession on a global scale.
Ultimately, the evidence in relation to where the barriers and opportunities lie for midwives is concrete. Consequently, ‘Midwives in Focus’ now aims to remain solution focussed and take global action.
Our two main workstreams are broadly as follows:
1: Recruit and sustain a ‘Midwifery Workforce Alliance’ (inclusive of the six WHO regions) dedicated to the generation and application of evidenced-based responses to six cross-cutting themes to be informed by the State of the World’s Midwifery report 2021 (SoWMy2021) and the WHO Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery (2021-2025).
2: Both the SoWMy2021 and the WHO Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery (2021-2025) call for midwives to assume prominent positions in health and academia in order to create impact and role model for others. As such, this workstream seeks to place midwives from each of the six WHO regions in prominent secondment placements in health and academia to be further supported by mentorship and training opportunities. The impact of these prominent secondment placements will be evaluated by the ‘Midwifery Workforce Alliance’ and provide evidence to inform future workforce planning in this area.
This initiative is bold and ambitious. We cannot do it alone.
We are delighted that the planning of these two workstreams has been so warmly received and shaped by the global community of midwives who have engaged with us on this so far. We will continue to engage with you, the global midwifery community and our partners throughout this work as visions are turned into practice.
As we are taking a co-creative approach in this work, we also welcome further partner opportunities which may either secure the hosting of a ‘Midwifery Workforce Alliance’ member or a prominent secondment placement to ensure we have diversity in bringing this project to life.
The co-creation and delivery of these workstreams is significant as there is an urgent global need to act on the findings of SoWMy2021 and meet the WHO Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery (2021-2025). We can no longer remain focused on the identification of problems without being solutions focussed through the provision of applied research and evidence-based action.
As a direct-entry midwife with experience working as a midwife clinically in the United Kingdom, the Gambia and Ethiopia I am excited to be a part of this international consortium of partners working together to launch and realise this new initiative to put ‘Midwives in Focus’. I hope you will join us on this journey.
Midwives – It is our time.