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The value of a midwife

02 August 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 8


International organisations are recognising the many ways in which midwives can provide solutions to urgent problems of maternal mortality and morbidity. Claire Axcell explains

Recently, I read news of carbetocin, a heat-resistant oxytocic that could mostly be used in developing countries where refrigeration facilities are beset with issues (Matthews-King, 2018). Problems can include inconstant power supply, a lack of money to afford the fridge or a lack of facilities where drugs and medical supplies can effectively be stored. Additionally, the absence of skilled birth attendants who can administer effective care in the event of a postpartum haemorrhage can hamper maternal mortality and morbidity. This is only one of the issues that affect women's survival in pregnancy and childbirth.

Maternal mortality continues to be a serious issue worldwide, and access to healthcare is not a universal right. More than 340 000 women and 3 million infants around the world die each year from preventable causes. The majority of these deaths could be prevented with enough properly trained and adequately resourced midwives. It is remarkable how much the effect of a trained midwife can have upon infant mortality: for every £1 invested in a midwife, £16 is saved in public health costs. Where there is a midwife, infant and maternal mortality fall (International Confederation of Midwives, 2018).

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