At International Day of the Midwife Celebration… UNFPA commended for supporting Sierra Leone’s health sector

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By Alhaji Haruna Sani

During the celebration of the International Day of the Midwife, UNFPA emerged as a focal point of recognition for its significant contributions to the health sector in Sierra Leone

The celebration on May 4th, took place at New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, with the theme “Midwives: A Vital Climate Solution”

The event, commemorating the 55th anniversary of the Sierra Leone Midwives Association (SLMA), saw Acting President of the SLMA, Matron Mary M. Fullah, expressing heartfelt gratitude to UNFPA for its consistent support, which has been pivotal in the success of the annual celebration years after years.

“On behalf of the Sierra Leone Nursery and Midwives Council, I wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the UNFPA for their unwavering and invaluable contributions and support which has been instrumental in ensuring the success of our event year after year,” Fullah said.

She acknowledged UNFPA’s vital role in advancing midwifery and extended appreciation to other partners for their contributions.

Matron Fullah emphasized the critical role of midwives in addressing the challenges posed by climate change on global health systems, particularly maternal and child health.

She highlighted midwives’ potential to advocate for sustainable healthcare practices that reduce carbon footprint and promote climate-friendly activities.

In her remarks, UNFPA Country Representative Nadia Rasheed underscored the indispensable role of midwives in ensuring the safety of pregnant women and delivering positive outcomes for mothers and babies.

She emphasized UNFPA’s commitment to supporting midwives and empowering women to access reproductive health services, noting the significant progress achieved in Sierra Leone through investments in midwifery training and healthcare infrastructure.

“UNFPA remains committed to working with the government, with midwives and all stakeholders to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and young persons’ potential is developed.

Rasheed commended Sierra Leone’s efforts in increasing the number of skilled birth attendants and reducing maternal mortality rates, citing UNFPA’s collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other partners in training over one thousand eight hundred midwives since 2010.

However, she acknowledged the persistent shortage of midwives in the country and highlighted the impact of climate change on maternal and child health outcomes.

Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Isata Mahoi, reiterated the importance of midwives in disaster response and emphasized the government’s commitment to supporting the health sector, despite global economic challenges.

She praised UNFPA for its unwavering support and emphasized the need for continued collaboration to ensure every pregnancy is safe and every childbirth is supported.

The event concluded with the distribution of awards to midwives and donations of baby packs to fifty pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Awardees expressed gratitude to UNFPA and the Midwives Association for their support, promising to continue their dedication to maternal and child health.

One of the beneficiaries, Mary Magdalene Songu who had spent 7 years as a midwife expressed gratitude to UNFPA and the Midwife Association for the support. “Since my enrolment as a midwife, I have consistently benefited from UNFPA support.

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