Strengthening Midwifery: Saving Lives and Promoting Health of Women and Newborns

05 June 2010 - 06 June 2010

Washington, D.C.

Midwifery Symposium at Women Deliver II

UNFPA co-hosted a Symposium on Strengthening Midwifery as a lead up to the Women Deliver conference. Both events took place in Washington D.C. The Symposium was held at a time when there is increasing momentum and awareness concerning the need to improve maternal and newborn health in developing countries. 

The Symposium convened some 200 midwives and others with midwifery skills from around the world, leading UN agencies, civil society, policy makers and donors (multi-lateral and bilateral) engaged globally in strengthening midwifery education and quality of midwifery services. The primary aim was to build the consensus required to make a fundamental push for investments in strengthened midwifery services, including education, regulation and association, as a way to reach MDGs 4, 5 and 6.

Key objectives of the Symposium were:

  • Raise awareness on the critical role of midwifery services in achieving Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6;
  • Create a global movement for the strengthening of midwifery services, including education, regulation and association, as a way to reach MDGs 4, 5 and 6;
  • Share experiences around particular challenges facing midwifery in low resource countries; and
  • Launch a joint statement of key partners in support of global strengthening of midwifery to achieve MDG 5 in particular.

The one and a half day Symposium was organized by UNFPA and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Health Work Force Alliance (GHWA), the John Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO), the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank. 

Concept Note


A Global Call to Action: Strengthen Midwifery to Save Lives and Promote Health of Women and Newborns 
( 6, June 2010 ) - English   French   Spanish

List of Participants



Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Care
Judith Fullerton, ICM consultant revising the competencies

Midwifery Education: Building Global Consensus - ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education
Joyce Thompson, Professor of Community Health Nursing, Western Michigan University, and Co-Chair of the Global ICM/WHO Task Force on MIdwifery Education

Meeting The Standards : Global Opportunities
Peter Johnson, Director of Global Learning, JHPIEGO, Panel of Midwifery Educators

ICM/WHO Global Standards for Midwifery Regulation
Sally Pairman, Co-Chair of ICM/WHO Global Task Force on Midwifery Regulation and Head School of Midwifery, Otago, New Zealand

The Role of Professional Associations in Multi-discplinary Care
Hamid Rushwan, FIGO Chief Executive   

The Member Association Capacity Assessment Tool (MACAT)
Nestor Moyo, Senior Midwifery Advisor, ICM and Chair, ICM Global Task Force for Midwifery Association
Development-Professional Associations development tool (MACAT)

Midwifery and Midwives: Global Situation
Della Sherratt, Senior Inernationally Midwife Advisor and Trainer and UNFPA International Coordinator for Skilled Birth Attendant, Lao PDR

Panel on Scaling up MIdwifery Services: the African Perspective
Margaret Loma Phiri, Nursing and Midwifery Advisor, Regional Office for Africa, WHO

Efforts of the Malaysian Government in Strengthening Midwifery in Malaysia
Ramziah Ahmad, President of the Malaysian Nurses Association and CNF Board Member, Asia Pacific

Midwife-led Units in Community Settings: Cape Peninsula South Africa
Sheila Clow, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University  of Cape Town 

Turning a Corner on the Road to Maternal Health: A New Vision for Midwifery in Sudan
Lamia Eltigani Elfadil Mahmoud, Director of National Reproductive Health, Federal Ministry of Health,

Midwifery Symposium News Articles

Consensus Forged on a Strategy to Strengthen Midwifery in Developing Countries (UNFPA, 7 June 2010)

In their Own Words: Eight Perspectives on Midwifery (UNFPA, 9 June 2010)
Maternal Health Tops Development Agenda  (NPR, 8 June 2010)

Ghana : Midwives Deliver (video presentation)
This video shows the powerful transformation in Ghana’s maternal healthcare system where investment in midwives promises to dramatically reduce maternal mortality. It profiles a midwife who overcomes cultural and distance barriers to encourage facility deliveries.