May 5: A celebration of Midwives around the world

Ahead of May 5, the International Day for celebrating midwives, WHO’s Chief Nursing Officer, Elizabeth Iro, said communities everywhere were best served by letting health workers collaborate with mothers and their newborns in providing continued care as children develop.


“This is based on research that demonstrates that not only is continuity of care preferred by women but also that there are profound impacts, including a 24 per cent reduction in pre-term births,” said Ms. Iro.

Evidence has also found that professionally-qualified midwives are able to meet 87 per cent of the needs of women and newborns, she added.

The International Day of the Midwife, observed each 5 May, recognizes the vital role these healthcare professionals have in preventing maternal and newborn deaths and empowering women to make the best choices for themselves and their babies.

The theme for this year’s celebration of one of the world’s oldest and most important professions is: “Midwives leading the way with quality care.”

In her message, Ms. Iro also highlighted the importance of the role of midwives in delivering on the globally-agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Key health targets to meet development goal 3, include progress on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.