Thursday, May 5, 2016
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), as a member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the worldwide body for midwives, celebrates the International Day of the Midwife today, Thursday, May 5. The theme for the day is “Women and newborns: The heart of Midwifery”. May 5 every year is dedicated to recognising that millions of women and newborns around the world are cared for by skilled midwives every day.
Midwives have a central role in reducing maternal and newborn mortality and ensuring universal access to healthcare services. According to the ICM only 22% of countries have enough midwives to provide the needed care and 289,000 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every year.
The ICM, in celebrating the day, has launched the annual campaign to highlight the important contribution that midwives make globally. The Midwives Section of the INMO is a member of ICM and works closely in collaboration and partnership with the Confederation to promote, support and drive the strategic direction of midwifery practise and celebrate the value of midwives. The International Day of the Midwife is an occasion for every individual midwife to reflect on the difference midwifery makes globally and make new contacts within and outside midwifery.
The shortage of midwives is not confined to other countries and is a reality here in Ireland where there is a shortage of 450 midwives.
INMO President, Claire Mahon, speaking on the International Day of the Midwife said:
“The INMO has also warmly welcomed the recent launch of Ireland’s first National Maternity Strategy, by the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, titled ‘Creating a Better Future Together: National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026. It maps out how Ireland can improve maternity and neonatal care in the years ahead, ensuring that it is safe, standardised, of high-quality and offers a better experience and more choice to women and families. A National Women and Infants Health Programme is to be established, to drive forward the implementation of the Strategy. This Strategy must lead to a positive transformation, of maternity services in Ireland, with much improved staffing levels.
In that regard I also note, and welcome, the recent report on Midwifery Manpower, published by the Office of Nursing and Midwifery in the HSE. This report clearly states that out services, when implementing the Maternity Strategy, should move to a midwife to birth ratio of 1 : 29.5. The INMO has already commenced discussions with the Department and the HSE as to how we will supply the additional 450 midwives required, to achieve this ratio, in the next four years.”
Ms Mahon concluded:
“It remains the absolute conviction, of the INMO, that midwifery standards and, best practice, are being increasingly pressurised due to our continuing high birth rate against a background of a shortage of midwives.
Immediate action is now required on recruitment of additional midwifery staff. This day should generate positive actions, both here and abroad, to realise this essential goal.”