Fifth Global Midwifery Symposium

07 May 2023

Cape Town, South Africa

The fifth Global Midwifery Symposium will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, drawing attention to the essential role midwives play in ensuring healthy pregnancies and safe births as well as in ending preventable maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities.

Hosted by UNFPA, the International Confederation of Midwives, the World Health Organization and UNICEF in collaboration with partners, the event will spotlight key data on investments in midwifery, the progress in recent years, the challenges to strengthening equitable access to quality midwifery, and, most important, strategies and solutions.

The symposium will also examine the Every Newborn Action Plan and Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality initiatives, which will be in focus during the International Maternal Newborn Health Conference from 08–11 May in Cape Town, following the International Day of the Midwife on 05 May.

Midwives are a critical component to women’s survival and empowerment, yet there are many challenges and impediments to quality midwifery service delivery, due to inadequate numbers, distribution issues, poor quality of education, regulations and workforce policies. As the vast majority of the world’s midwives are women, they suffer gender disparities in pay, career pathways and decision-making.

In fact, there is a global shortage of some 900,000 midwives, threatening women’s lives and health.

Since the first midwifery symposium in 2010, these high-profile events organized by UNFPA and partners have called for action and generated a worldwide movement, bringing together diverse global partners and helping to drive policy moves. The events have highlighted the crucial role of midwives, the challenges they face and the urgent need to strengthen quality midwifery care, spurring in-depth discussions about issues surrounding midwifery in education, regulation, leadership and workforce policies, among others.

Over the years, these midwifery events have also generated demand for data for investments in this important health workforce, resulting in the launch of three State of the World’s Midwifery reports, as well as a host of regional midwifery reports and many other studies.

This year’s symposium, “Midwives: Leading the Way in Improving Quality Maternal and Newborn Care,” will also include an urgent call to action and commitment.

Read the press release here.


Global Call to Action & Commitment

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