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The World in Medicine
August 17, 2011

Improving Midwifery Services

JAMA. 2011;306(7):694. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1155

As many as 3.6 million maternal, fetal, and newborn deaths could be averted every year if midwifery services were upgraded by 2015 in developing countries, according to a new report released by the United Nations Population Fund (http://tinyurl.com/6hk8895).

The report documents the current practice of midwifery and provides new information and data gathered from 58 countries with high rates of maternal, fetal, and newborn death where less than 17% of the world's skilled birth attendants are available. It confirms the gap between the numbers of midwives practicing worldwide and the numbers needed to save lives, pointing to the need to train more health workers with appropriate midwifery skills.