A few midwives can save many lives

Related articles

In the developing world, more than 1,000 mothers and 2,000 newborn babies die each day from preventable birth complications. Many of these deaths could easily be avoided by providing pregnant women with trained midwives who can assist during birth. Unfortunately, there is a chronic shortage of these much-needed health care workers in the poorest countries, according to the recent report, Missing Midwives, researched and published by the group Save the Children.

The group found that midwives trained in just eight simple procedures — such as keeping newborns warm and fed and rubbing the baby’s back to facilitate coughing — could reduce the number of newborn deaths by more than one-third in 68 countries with the worst neonatal mortality rates.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross believes the statistics speak for themselves. “This is a scary but important global health issue. Having people help a mother during delivery seems to be something that is so inherent, that it is practically a human right. Yet over a million mothers and newborns in the developing world die each year because of midwife shortages.”