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Global Health
July 16, 2014

More Midwives in Developing Countries Could Save Millions of Lives

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Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2014;312(3):222. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.8663

Providing greater support for midwifery services could help improve maternal and newborn health in developing countries, according to a new report, The State of the World’s Midwifery 2014, from the United Nations Population Fund, the International Confederation of Midwives, and the World Health Organization (http://bit.ly/1kzMwXl).

The report presents findings from 73 low- and middle-income countries—which experience 92% of all the maternal and newborn deaths throughout the world yet have only 42% of the world’s physicians, nurses, and midwives—showing that these countries have a great shortage of midwives. In 2013, there were an estimated 289 000 maternal deaths and 2.9 million deaths of newborns, most of which might have been averted with proper antenatal care or the presence of a midwife during delivery. In addition to delivering infants, midwives provide health services for mothers and newborns and sexual and reproductive education.

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