Lancet Series on the Importance of Midwifery in the Lives of Women and Infants
The Lancet, a highly-respected medical journal published in the U.K., has recently released a series of articles on midwifery and its actual and potential impact on the lives and health of women around the globe (http://www.thelancet.com/series/midwifery). According to an review in the online newsletter of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, “the Series, produced by an international group of academics, clinicians, professional midwives, policymakers and advocates for women and children, is the most critical, wide-reaching examination of midwifery ever conducted. It shows the scale of the positive impact that can be achieved when effective, high-quality midwifery is available to all women and their babies. Apart from saving lives, it also improves their continuing health and well-being and has other long-lasting benefits (http://www.midwife.org/the-lancet-series).
The articles in the Lancet series include the following:
- Country experience with strengthening of health systems and deployment of midwives in countries with high maternal mortality
- Disrespect and abuse of women in childbirth: challenging the global quality and accountability agendas
- Health-care professionals in midwifery care
- Improvement of maternal and newborn health through midwifery
- Interprofessional collaboration, the only way to Save Every Woman and Every Child
- Meeting needs of childbearing women and newborn infants through strengthened midwifery
- Midwifery and quality care: findings from a new evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care
- The power of midwifery
- The projected effect of scaling up midwifery
The articles can be downloaded in PDF form from the Lancet website referenced above. In future blog posts, I hope to summarize each of these articles and highlight parts that I find particularly insightful. The focus of most of the series is on the contribution of midwifery in saving and improving the lives of women and children in the developing world, where there is too little healthcare. I would also like to emphasize the role of midwives in countries, particularly my own, where there is too little healthcare for some and too much for others, resulting in poor outcomes overall. The Lancet series reinforces the role of midwifery as a powerful force to improve outcomes for women and infants in all settings. Midwives everywhere would do well to read these articles and to use them with their institutions, colleagues, and public health authorities to argue the case for the important role of midwifery across the globe.