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SLMA celebrates International Midwives Day

By Regina Pratt

Sierra Leone Midwives Association, SLMA, yesterday (5 May) celebrated International Midwives Day at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown.

The theme for this year’s celebration was ‘The world needs midwives no more than ever, and ‘Midwives changing the world one family at a time’.

Speaking at the event, UNFPA country representative, Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, said no woman should die while giving birth, albeit every year over two million women die, 180 die monthly, while six die daily. He said the UNFPA and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation play important roles in reducing maternal mortality by saving the lives of over 1000 women each year.

He said they have trained 250 midwives in Freetown and Makeni who are recognized in their work for working towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

Dr. Bannet further said midwives were providing ante-natal, post-natal and family planning for pregnant women, as some of them work in difficult positions.

“We have trained a number of women in maternal mortality over the years and  has increased the number as the government continue to support the education and association for the midwives. We are working with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in enhancing a midwifery plan,” he said.

The UNFPA country representative pledged to continue supporting midwifery in Sierra Leone as they work towards achieving the goal that no woman should die while giving birth.

President of West African College of Nurses, Amelia Garber, said the college is the highest body for midwifery education in Sierra Leone and that midwives should put to use this year’s ‘appropriate’ theme and commended UNFPA for their support to midwives in Sierra Leone.

Sister Garber said that statistics worldwide show that maternal mortality is high and that midwives are key care facilitators in providing care delivery.

Mrs. Husainatu Kanu, Chief Nursing Officer in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, said approximately 48,000,000 women worldwide give birth without the attention of midwives.

In the goodwill messages, midwives were admonished to work with diligence while calls were made for their working environment to be conducive.

Meanwhile, five new born babies were presented with baby gifts donated by UNFPA, while a free fair for pregnant women climaxed the celebration.