day-of-midwives-vanuatuThe 5th of May is the International Day of the Midwife (IMD), celebrated around the world every year.

This is the day to honour midwives and their contribution to improve health outcomes for mothers and their babies.

International Midwives Day increases the awareness of the midwife’s role and highlight the increasing need for more internationally. Every year 350,000 women die due to pregnancy related illnesses and hazards during pregnancy and childbirth. It is stated by the World Health Organization, around two million babies die just after birth or within 24 hours and around two million are stillborn (die before birth). These outcomes can be reduced or prevented by investing in midwives who undertake a quality and enabling training programme. Midwives need to be equipped with the knowledge and competence to assess risk, refer confidently and where necessary able to initiate emergency treatments.

This year the theme for 2019 is, “Midwives: defenders of woman’s rights”.

Midwives are the specialist’s in maternal and newborn healthcare. They are trained to provide quality reproductive health education and choices, provide quality antenatal, labour, birth and postnatal care from pre-conception through to six weeks post birth.

Midwives also provide quality newborn care, walking alongside mothers, families and the community supporting breastfeeding, initiating the immunisation schedule and provide primary health care and interventions where required.

Throughout Vanuatu midwifery is being strengthened with midwives working alongside other health professionals, agencies and NGO to improve the health of mothers and their babies.

The midwife advocates for accessible reproductive health services for all women, her right to choose her own reproductive health choices such as family planning, sexual health and the timing of pregnancy with confidentiality and privacy. Reducing violence against woman, harassment, and inequity in health service delivery are all priorities to improve maternal and child health outcomes, and a sustainable and healthy future for the population of Vanuatu’s.

Midwives in Vanuatu now complete an eighteen-month (three semester) evidence-based, quality programme accredited by the Vanuatu Qualifications Authority at the Vanuatu College of Nursing Education (VCNE), Port Vila campus. The school looks forward to celebrating the second graduation of 15 midwives in June 2019.