Midwifery matters - Lancet midwifery series

The Lancet series identifies untapped potential of midwifery to improve outcomes through collaborative practice, writes Deirdre Munro

IT was a privilege to attend the International Congress of Midwifery in Prague where the prelaunch of the Lancet Midwifery Series took place. The lead authors provided an overview of their international research and answered numerous questions. The atmosphere in the hall was electric as global midwives proudly witnessed the world honour our profession; midwifery.

The Lancet midwifery series featured exciting and invigorating international studies. The series provides a framework for quality maternal and newborn care (QMNC) placing women and their newborn at the centre of care. The series facilitates a shift in the delivery of care moving away from a focus on pathology towards a whole-system skilled teamwork approach. This series highlights the need for effective integration of care crossing the community and hospital arena.

There were four papers included in the series, all published in June 2014:

Key messages

Midwives are the essential link in the continuum of care
The midwife addresses the full continuum of care from the community though to complex clinical care a where medical specialist may not. Midwives are the enablers, the initiators, the organisers and catalysts. Midwives are the ‘essential-link’ bringing women to the healthcare system at the most effective time. Referral effectiveness maybe affected by lack of finance and services such as; specialist medical care and transport services. Midwives need to be valued as part of a team within a functioning and enabling health system. The health system needs a competent and skilled workforce, based in the community as well as the hospital.

The Lancet midwifery series is the most intensive exploration of midwifery to date. It includes ‘a broad range of clinical, policy and health system perspectives’, delivering four evidence summaries based on systematic reviews, case studies and modelling deaths averted. Midwifery is a ‘vital solution’ to all women and newborns in all countries. Midwives promote longer-term survival and wellbeing for the infant.

The Lancet ser ies identi f ies the untapped potential of midwifery globally to improve outcomes through collaborative practice, working along a continuum of care. So midwives, we really do matter... and now the world knows.

Deirdre Munro is the education officer of the INMO Midwives Section, a member of the Executive Council and works for the National Communication (Handover) Project UCD

Midwifery matters - Lancet midwifery series

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