Canterbury and West Coast midwives have this week been raising awareness and funds to tackle global inequalities in maternal and newborn health.
Canterbury Tactix assistant coach and
mother of four Julie Seymour led about 30 midwives and mothers in a walk around
Hagley Park yesterday to mark International Day of the
New Zealand College of Midwife
spokeswoman Janaya Anisy says New Zealanders are fortunate to have a world class
maternity system with excellent outcomes for New Zealand women and their babies.
“However, globally more than 340,000
women die each year, with millions more suffering
infection and disability, as a result of preventable maternal causes and the lack of a midwife to attend them,” Janaya
Canterbury District Health Board
midwife educator Tina Hewitt says the world needs midwives more than
“We wanted to raise awareness of the
fact that access to essential midwifery services reduces maternal and infant
mortality and reduces the cycle of poverty in developing
Money raised from the Canterbury walk
yesterday will be donated to assist Japanese midwives who have been affected in
the Fukushima Earthquake and Tsunami, Tina says.
“Japan has been selected because,
while it has an excellent maternity system, services will be suffering following
the quake and Christchurch people can relate on a similar level to what they
must be going through.”
The walk is also a lead in to the
International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Congress in Durban in June, a
global gathering where 3000 midwives will share evidence on reducing maternal
mortality and improve the care and support available to mothers and newborns
around the world.
Four members including the NZCOM
chief executive, Karen Guilliland will be attending the ICM Council meeting to
discuss and help find solutions to the unacceptable maternal mortality figures
in the resource poor world.
Midwives in New Zealand
Almost 100 percent of women in New Zealand
have a midwife present at the birth of their child.
There were almost 64,000 babies born in 2010.
The average age to become a first-time
mother is 30.
Every year the NZ College of Midwives’
membership grows and today NZCOM represents 90 percent of practicing midwives.
There are almost 3000 midwives at present practicing in
New Zealand, up from 2500 in 2009.
Midwives are highly educated health professionals with
strong and effective accountability frameworks supporting
With the support, information and knowledge Midwives
share with women and their families, a new born baby has the best possible start
Ninety nine percent of all maternal deaths
occur in developing countries: the chances of dying during pregnancy or
childbirth in Somalia are 1 in 14, in Sub-Saharan Africa 1 in 31 and 1 in 4,200
Pregnancy and childbirth are among the leading
causes of death and disability for girls and women in developing
Approximately 13 million adolescent girls give
birth each year in developing countries, they often miss out on years of
education which reduces their chances for adequate income and opportunity to
Effects of skilled birth attendance in pregnancy and
Up to 90
percent of maternal deaths could be prevented by universal access to adequate
reproductive health services, equipment, supplies and skilled healthcare
A 10 percent
increase in midwives or skilled birth attendants leads to a 5 percent reduction
in maternal deaths.
Lanka and Thailand managed to half their Maternal Mortality Rate within 10 years
by increasing the number of midwives.
estimated 350,000 extra midwives are needed to ensure universal coverage for
maternity care but this number is now under review.
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