May 05, 2021 is celebrated globally as International Day of Midwives (IDM) with the 2021 theme of “Follow the data, invest on Midwives”. This year, the 3rd global State of Midwifery (SoWMY) 2021 will be launched on May 5 which will examining the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of Sexual Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Adolescent Healthcare (SRMNAH) workforce in the region and globally.
• Evidence shows that midwives, when educated and regulated to international standards, have the competencies to meet 87% of the need for essential SRMNAH services (SoWMY 2014 Report).
• The region has a big need, with approximately 27 million pregnancies and 19 million live births occurring annually in the 23 countries in the region.
• The shortage of midwives must be addressed. Mere numbers are not enough, every midwife should be competent and properly educated and trained to global standards.
• Every competent that are motivated and can work in an enabling environment, backed by governments that are committed will ensure all these requirements to reach Sustainable Development Goals will be met.
In preparation for celebration of the IDM 2021, the global launch of SoWMY 2021 will be enhanced by findings by incredible stories of midwives from the field compiled into a booklet entitled “Not all Superheroes Wear Capes”.
In South Africa the need for midwives that comply with the global definition is dire. The current midwifery education is in transition into new promulgated qualifications. The Society of Midwives of South Africa, the professional association for midwives and member association of ICM, drives compliance to global standards for education of midwives and inclusion of the ICM essential competencies for basic midwives. The global compliance with recognition of midwifery and a unique independent profession is also needed to ensure that every childbearing family has access to an autonomous, accountable midwife to care for them during the continuum starting before and during pregnancy until 1000 days after that.