Global midwife shortage putting lives at risk

10 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Global midwife shortage putting lives at risk

The United Nations warned Wednesday that the world faces an acute shortage of midwives, saying millions of lives could be saved if the shortfall were addressed, reports AFP.

The shortage of 900,000 midwives represents a third of the required global midwifery workforce, says a study carried out jointly by the UN Population Fund, the World Health Organization and the International Confederation of Midwives. And because of this problem, the lives of millions of women and newborn babies are at risk. “The Covid-19 crisis has only exacerbated these problems,   with the health needs of women and newborns being overshadowed, midwifery services being disrupted and midwives being deployed to other health services,” said a UN statement about the study covering 194 countries.

The shortage is “exacting a terrible global toll in the form of preventable deaths”—it is estimated that about 4.3 million lives per year could be saved if there were enough midwives, the statement says.

Gender inequality is an unacknowledged driver of this shortage, the statement said.