Celebrating International Day of Midwives

The 5th of May is celebrated internationally as International Day of Midwives, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan also marks and celebrates this day to commend the important role that midwives play in saving thousands of lives every year in Afghanistan.

Midwives play a very significant role in health services provision. They dedicate their lives to mothers’ and children’s’ healthcare, provides lifesaving immunizations and health advice. They are regularly, the first and only point of critical medical care for mothers and children in rural and urban communities.

In Afghanistan, among many other challenges, the high maternal mortality rate is also an issue to be addressed. Therefore, the SCA started its first Community Midwifery Education (CME) in Kunduz and then in Wardak provinces in 2004 and to date, the SCA has trained 401 Midwives in four provinces namely, Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul, Wardak, Samangan and Laghman. The graduates account for 9.4% of the overall midwives trained across the country and this contribution of the SCA has played an important role in the decrease of child and maternal mortality rates in Afghanistan. 

Currently, 25 students are under training at the SCA’s Wardak CME and they will graduate by October 2021. The selection takes place based on the set criteria and procedures developed by the Ministry of Public Health in coordination with its partners.

Improvements have been made to the quality of the education, extending it from 18 months to 2 years, updating the curriculum, and installing a well-equipped laboratory at the SCA’s CMEs.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the world needs 18 million more health workers to achieve and sustain global health coverage by 2030. Approximately half of that shortfall, 9 million health workers are nurses and midwives. Despite the progress made, the shortage of Midwives remains a challenge in Afghanistan.

The International Confederation of Midwives leads recognition and celebration of the International Day of Midwife. This year’s theme is: “Midwives with women: celebrate, demonstrate, mobilize, unite – our time is NOW!”.

During the previous years, the day was celebrated at many of SCA’s offices in Afghanistan, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic this year, the SCA will not mark this day by physical gatherings.