International Day of the Midwife

Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Most maternal deaths are preventable; however it's not a lack of knowledge, as the healthcare solutions to prevent or manage complications are well known, but a lack of access to a trained doctor, nurse or midwife that is the problem.

As the world's premier international development agency, USAID strives to strengthen the voices of the marginalized and vulnerable by celebrating midwives, both in the countries where we work and those that work with us.

Midwives play a vital role in the health and well-being of women and newborns. Let’s not forget at the heart of this is a basic human right. In the hands of a skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate midwife, our goal of preventing maternal and child deaths can be realized.

Lucy Barh is a senior Liberian midwife who has been delivering babies since 1986. Thirty years ago, she received her midwifery diploma, here, at the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (TNIMA). She recently became one of Liberia's first cohort of midwives to receive a Bachelor of Science degree. Lucy also works with midwives-in-training to ensure women have safe deliveries.
These women are recent graduates from TNIMA where Lucy works with midwives-in-training to ensure women have safe deliveries. Patience Dahn (left) was given the “Best Midwife Award” for her outstanding academic performance. Photo credit: Liz Eddy/MCSP
“I hope to serve humanity and serve my country.”

-Patience Dahn, Midwife

Balaynes Siraw, 25, has a four-year nurse-midwife degree, and serves the Yifag Kebele in the South Gondar Zone of Ethiopia. She often facilitates community discussions on the health challenges women and their families face, in addition to providing individual maternal care.
USAID's Community-based Newborn Care/Newborns in Ethiopia Gaining Attention (CBNC/NEGA) program is supporting the Ministry of Health to scale-up high-impact interventions in three regional states in Ethiopia. Photo credit: Karen Kasmauski/MCSP
Ebonyi State University is an important pre-service institution for Nigeria's next generation of nurses and midwives. Instructors at the University engage students in hands-on demonstrations using lifelike models. These USAID-provided models help students learn about everything from newborn resuscitation to breastfeeding.
Midwife Oko Constance (left) demonstrates the Mama Breast to her students, helping them learn how to teach mothers to express breast milk. Midwife instructor Awn Chinedu (center) demonstrates how to administer long acting, reversible contraceptives. Clinical instructor Mjaka Stanely (right) shows students the bone structure of a woman using a skeleton model. Photo credit: Karen Kasmauski/MCSP


Liz Eddy/MCSP, Karen Kasmauski/MCSP

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