In recognition of her extensive work to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), spanning over two decades, the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, H.E. Mrs. Toyin Saraki, was today, Sunday June 1st 2014, honored and announced as the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Ambassador, during the ICM Congress running from the 1st to 5th of June at the International Congress Centre, Prague. Themed “Midwives: Improving Women’s Health Globally,” the ICM Congress is addressing the key challenges facing midwives and maternity services around the world, recognizing the impact that the work of midwives have on the health of childbearing women, and therefore on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5. A keynote speaker at this event, H.E Mrs. Toyin Saraki will also be speaking on the theme: ‘Education: the bridge to midwifery and women’s autonomy.’
Since 2004, midwives have been at the centre of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s work in Nigeria. Currently, the Foundation continues to work towards equipping midwives with the tools they need, including its flagship WBFA Integrated Maternal Newborn and Child Health Personal Health Record (PHR)©, which supports expectant mothers and midwives to record and monitor progress during pregnancy and early childhood; and its safe delivery kits (“Mamakits”) which contain essential items to assist midwives in the safe delivery of newborns. The Foundation has also worked with the federal and local governments of Nigeria to improve the education, working conditions and remuneration of midwives, as well as deploying midwives to underserved, rural areas of the country.
Recently, on the 7th of April 2014, the Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa visited the International Confederation of Midwives in The Hague, Netherlands, in furtherance of her commitment to improving maternal health and preventing needless deaths during childbirth. Meeting with Frances Day-Stirk, President of the International Confederation of Midwives; Frances Granges, CEO; and Marian Van Huis, Board Member and Treasurer, in addition to other staff members, H.E Mrs Saraki expressed the critical need to provide universal access to a well-educated, well-equipped, regulated midwifery workforce, especially at the grassroots level in developing countries.
Expressing her optimism about the year ahead, Mrs. Saraki stated “I am excited to be working with the International Confederation of Midwives, as the ICM Ambassador, to achieve our shared vision of a world where every childbearing woman has access to a midwife’s care for herself and her newborn.” An accredited non-governmental organisation which supports, represents and works to strengthen professional midwives associations throughout the world, the ICM consists of 116 Midwives Associations, representing 101 countries across every continent. Together, these associations represent more than 300,000 midwives each committed to combatting the global maternal and newborn mortality crisis.
Approximately 290,000 women and over 3 million infants die each year as a result of preventable pregnancy and childbirth complications, with over 99% of deaths occurring in developing countries. In addition, while educated midwives offer communities the most cost effective and high quality path to universal access to maternal healthcare, each year, 45 million births still take place without the help of a midwife. In order to tackle maternal mortality, the global shortage of midwives must be addressed promptly, especially as the international community looks to the Post-2015 development agenda.
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa