Wellbeing Foundation Africa marks International Day of the Midwife with multi-stakeholder Call to Action; Toyin Saraki identifies ‘Whole System Support’ Targets for Front-line Healthcare Workers


Wellbeing Foundation Africa marks International Day of the Midwife with multi-stakeholder Call to Action; Toyin Saraki identifies ‘Whole System Support’ Targets for Front-line Healthcare Workers


The Wellbeing Foundation Africa this week hosted a multi-stakeholder symposium to mark the International Day of the Midwife at the Pearlwort Hotel in Lagos. The resulting call to action was supported and adopted by the Lagos State Ministry of Health's Director of Nursing and Midwifery, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNMS), the Lagos University Teaching Hospital School of Nursing and Midwifery, Save The Children, Lagos State Primary Health Services, the Director of Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Lagos, the Nigeria Army Medical Corp and midwives drawn from across Local Government Associations in Lagos. 
 
Participants called upon policy-makers, specifically from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives and the Head of Civil Services, to accept and delineate midwifery as a profession distinct from nursing and to establish a formal career structure for midwifery that would equip them with improved training techniques, ensure their safety and security, and provide greater incentives. It was agreed that such a structure will help Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), boost the morale of midwives and encourage professional interest in midwifery.
 
Toyin Saraki, as Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives, delivered her keynote speech on the theme of ‘Enabling and Elevating Midwives with Whole System Support as Defenders of Women's Rights; Every Woman, Every Child, Every Time’. Following the event Mrs Saraki commented:

“I was delighted to mark the International Day of the Midwife with midwifery institution leaders, regulatory agencies, public and private health facilities midwifery directors at the Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Midwifery Symposium.”

“In my keynote address, I shared findings from national and global research on midwives’ voices and midwives’ realities on improving working conditions and the delivery of midwifery services.”

“I also appreciated the support of the ACT Foundation and Access Bank in enabling our MamaCare midwifery-led Antenatal and Postnatal Education Program to reach twenty more medical facilities in Lagos State.”
 
“As allies of midwives, it is incumbent upon us to advocate for the whole-system support to enable and elevate midwives as the key defenders of women’s rights – in Nigeria and around the world.”
 
“Midwives are champions of women’s rights; but can only be effective if their rights are also secure. This includes the right for every midwife—and all health workers—to decent work and a safe and dignified workplace. Saving lives does not mean a midwife should risk her own. Sadly, as we all know, in the past year we have lost selfless Nigerian midwives. Too often midwives also suffer ‘burnout’ – from long hours carrying out a complex role, combined with the lack of basic infrastructure or professional support to deliver high-quality care. Many rural midwives represent the sole point of access to health care in remote and under-served areas. It is our first duty to keep the care-givers safe.” 

Toyin Saraki is also Special Advisor to the World Health Organization Independent Advisory Group to the Regional Office for Africa, a member of the Concordia Leadership Council and was named by Devex as ‘Global Health for All Champion.’

 

Please find below the official communique of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s symposium:
 
Communique from the “Enabling and Elevating Midwives with Whole-System Support as Defenders of Women’s Rights, Every Woman, Every Child, Every Time” event

Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) in collaboration with Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation organized an event titled “Enabling and Elevating Midwives with Whole-System Support as Defenders of Women’s Rights, Every Woman, Every Child, Every Time” to celebrate the occasion of International Day of the Midwife on 6th May 2019 at Pearlwort Hotel in Lagos. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Lagos State Ministry of Health; the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, School of Midwifery; National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives; Nigeria Army Medical Corp; Save The Children; and 33 midwives from across Lagos state.

During the event, the importance of midwives in improving maternal, infant and child health outcomes was discussed and midwives were recognised as the lynchpins in reducing maternal and infant mortality. However, it was noted that midwifery is fast becoming an endangered profession, with fewer professionals opting to work as midwives due to a lack of career structure. 

Thus, the participants of the meeting call upon policymakers, specifically from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives and Head of Civil Services to consider midwifery as a profession distinct from nursing and to establish a formal career structure for midwifery that would equip them with improved training techniques, ensure their safety and security, and provide for incentives. The participants are of the firm belief that creating such a structure will help Nigeria in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), boost the morale of midwives and encourage professional interest in midwifery.

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