White Ribbon Alliance

Malawi Minister of Health

MIDWIVES, OUR ‘UNSUNG HEROES’

May 30, 2014
May has been an exciting month for the White Ribbon Alliance, as we promoted the rights of midwives and mothers all over the world.

International Day of the Midwife, May 5th, 2014

In Malawi, where women face a 1 in 36 chance of dying in childbirth, Minister of Health Catherine, Gotani Hara, opened the celebrations by calling on officials to 'promote midwives, our unsung heroes, in rural areas.' This year, White Ribbon Alliance members gathered over 100 signatures for a petition for more government investment in midwifery.

In Tanzania, the First Lady, Mama Kikwete, was the guest of honor. White Ribbon Alliance Tanzania is holding the government to account for its pledge of emergency care in at least half of all health centers. We shared the story of Elvina, a midwife from Rukwa, and of her husband who lost his wife for lack of emergency services - promised but not so far delivered by the government of Tanzania.

Midwives march through Mityana District in Uganda
Midwives march through Mityana District in Uganda

In Uganda, White Ribbon Alliance members marched through the streets of Mityana District, calling for the government to deliver on its commitment, made in 2011, to provide emergency services in health centers.

Sir Hillary
White Ribbon Alliance champion, Sir Hillary, performed his latest song: “Open Hearts for Mothers”, which calls on leaders to ensure that life-saving emergency care services are available in health centers.

The International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress, June 1st – 5th, 2014

White Ribbon Alliance’s Mande Limbu, Katy Woods and Brigid McConville will soon depart for the International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress in Prague, where, alongside Lennie Kamwendo (WRA Malawi) and Mary Chuwa (WRA Tanzania), they will be hosting four presentations to audiences of up to 1,000. The presentations include:

• “Advocacy in Action”: a workshop introducing participants to some of the extraordinary ways that midwives use advocacy to address national and local challenges.
• “Promotion of Midwifery as a Career”: an interactive session in which WRA will explore what it means to be a midwife around the world today – the challenges, the stereotypes and the realities.
• “Midwifery, Childbirth and Human Rights”: a partner panel will discuss human rights, childbirth and the role of midwives.
• “Respectful Maternity Care is a Basic Human Right”: an open discussion to share effective advocacy interventions.

WRA is thrilled with the international momentum building in support of midwives and mothers across the globe as 2014 progresses and hopes that you will join in the discussions by following the ICM Congress on twitter #ICMlive or at www.whiteribbonalliance.org

Mande Limbu and Lydia Wisner