The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently donated a consignment of training materials to midwifery schools and training institutions across Liberia including the A.M Doglioti College of Medicine, University of Liberia.
The items included artificial human skeletons, embryonic development model, advanced female contraction practice simulator model, childbirth stimulator and advanced female nursing manikin among others.
In remarks during the presentation at the official program marking the observance of the International Day of the Midwife, held Monday 5, May in Paynesville, Dr. Philderald Pratt, Officer-in-Charge, UNFPA Liberia said the donation was part of UNFPA’s effort to strengthen midwifery training institutions in Liberia. “If we must reduce maternal and newborn deaths, we have to ensure the training and deployment of skilled birth attendants,” he said.
He further stated that midwives can prevent up to 90 percent of maternal deaths if they get all the support and are allowed to practice their competencies and play a full role during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth. “Midwives deliver more than babies: they also provide other life-saving reproductive health information and services, including antenatal, postnatal care and family planning,” Dr. Pratt emphasized.
Also delivering a joint statement by UNFPA and the International Confederation of Midwives Dr. Pratt said “with just over 600 days left until the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline, concerted efforts are required to scale up cost-effective interventions in educating midwives and other professionals with midwifery skills.”
UNFPA supports midwives through the provision of clean delivery kits, funding and supplies for healthcare facilities, and training programs. Between 2008 and 2013, UNFPA supported the training of over 10,000 midwives. But much more investment and support are needed at every level, from governments, civil society organizations and community leaders.
According to the Liberia Board of Nursing and Midwifery, by December 2013, there were about 800 midwives available to the population of 3.5 million people; highlighting the urgent need for the training of more midwives.