While we celebrate and elevate midwives over the next decade, May is a special month to recognize the important role midwives play. Midwives stand with women at every stage of life, providing comprehensive reproductive health, counseling, and support services—and they save lives. Yet the 2021 State of the World’s Midwifery Report, launched earlier this month, flagged the immense shortage of 900,000 midwives globally. This is the reality in Niger State, where WRA Nigeria works intensively. Recently, we conducted an assessment that revealed only 64 midwives are currently employed by state government to attend to nearly 1.5 million women and girls of childbearing age. This is not acceptable.
Despite this, there is reason to be hopeful. WRA Nigeria, in partnership with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, recently commemorated the International Day of the Midwife in Niger State. We shared that female providers and midwives was a top demand from the What Women Want campaign and demonstrated the new What Women Want Dashboard. We also disseminated our assessment findings on the insufficient number of midwives in the state. Upon hearing this, the Commissioner for Information, acting on behalf of the Deputy Governor, stated that the government will make a budgetary allocation in 2021 for more midwives to employed.
We’re using data and making progress, yet still have miles to go. Let us all continue to work together to accelerate the priorities and concerns of women and midwives everywhere!