“Midwives are so often forgotten in our societies, but with their support, we can transform the lives of women globally”
Her Excellency Toyin Saraki, Founder and President of The Wellbeing Foundation, spoke at the High-level meeting at the 31st ICM Triennial Congress in Toronto today, urging global leaders to join her in investing in midwives. Saraki thanked Former President of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete for listening to her call and encouraged others to follow his lead to ensure that Africa leads the way to strengthen health systems for maternal, newborn and child health.
Saraki emphasized the impact of educating midwives, giving specific examples from Nigeria. She clearly explained midwives’ role as the crux of the Nigerian society, that they are “the first hands to hold our babies and the first eyes to see them.” She continued by saying:
“We need to ensure that every mother has a midwife, and every country has a cadre of well-trained midwives, so that we can actually meet the Sustainable Development Goals.”
In his keynote address, Kikwete highlighted the achievements that have been made to improve the health and well-being of many, yet reminded us of the millions of women and children that still die from preventable causes each year. Not only are the deaths many, but the disparities in health and well-being are great. Kikwete mentioned disparities between countries, between regions and between districts and even within communities.
The former President talked about the acute need for midwives and called for investments to made now, to avoid the risk of loosing the gains that have already been made. Prompted by a representative from the Tanzanian Association of Midwives, he also committed to ensure a midwifery curriculum is set up and prioritized at the University.
“There is so much wealth in the hands of governments, corporates and individuals. All that we need to do is muster the political courage and commitment.”
The meeting continued with panel discussions between midwives, organizational and private sector leaders, the Health Minister of Afghanistan and Rwandan Midwife, Yvonne Delphine Nsaba Uwera.
Yvonne is a Young Midwifery Leader in an 18 month program with the International Confederation of Midwives, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. After the high-level event, she took the opportunity to speak directly with a few of the representatives present, asking them specifically about what they are doing to invest in midwives, and ensure that young midwives like her can take the lead.
Yvonne Delphine Speaks with H.E. Toyin Saraki, Founder & President, Wellbeing Foundation
Yvonne Delphine Speaks with Natalia Kanem, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA
Yvonne Delphine Speaks with Chunmei Li, Director, Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson
Girls’ Globe is at the 31st ICM Triennial Congress in Toronto, Canada. See all of the Girls’ Globe LIVE coverage here.