In her words: A heavy monsoon, a flooded hospital and twins on the way. A midwife’s story in Bangladesh

Shakila Parvin, a midwife in the refugee camps of Cox's Bazar, helped a woman pregnant with twins deliver during heavy flooding that submerged the health facility's maternity ward, knocked out power and destroyed or damaged equipment and supplies. © UNFPA Bangladesh
  • 07 April 2022

Shakila Parvin has been a UNFPA-trained midwife in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar since 2019.


In this refugee camp, midwives have delivered over 14,000 babies with zero maternal deaths

Ammoun Kitabi cradles a newborn in Zaatari camp. As a Jordanian midwife trained in Syria, she feels a deep connection to the Syrian refugees under her care. © UNFPA Jordan
  • 10 January 2022

ZAATARI CAMP, Jordan – "On my first day at work in the camp, I cried a lot. At that time, I had not worked with refugees before, and I had no idea about their conditions," Ammoun Kitabi, a 58-year-old midwife, told UNFPA, at the reproductive health clinic in Zaatari camp where she tends to Syrian refugees. "The reason I cried was because I knew that most of them had everything they needed in their country.”

Ms. Kitabi knows better than most.


Diamonds are scarce – sexual and reproductive health information shouldn’t be

Nsenga Malu has had nine children since her marriage at age 15. She was not given any information about family planning until her most recent child was born. © UNFPA DRC
  • 14 December 2021

LUAMBO, Democratic Republic of the Congo – At only 35, Nsenga Malu has lived many lives. In one, she was a girl growing up in the city of Luambo, in her home country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Then, her childhood halted abruptly when she married at the age of 15 and immediately began childbearing. Within 13 years, she’d had eight children, with an average of 11 months between pregnancies.


$835 million needed to provide urgent sexual and reproductive health care, supplies in crisis settings

A midwife in Afghanistan provides maternal health services. © UNFPA Afghanistan
  • 13 December 2021

UNITED NATIONS, New York – UNFPA launched its annual humanitarian report today, revealing a critical need to scale up assistance for crisis-affected populations.


Training midwives in Madagascar to bridge a dangerous gap in maternal health care

Midwifery students at Madagascar's Interregional Training Institute for Paramedics. ©UNFPA Madagascar
  • 06 December 2021

Antananarivo/Madagascar – “It wasn’t until I stood alongside my classmates in the delivery room, encouraging an anxious mother-to-be as she gave birth to a little baby boy, that I realised just how valuable this work can be.”

For Tahiana Rakotovao, 24, a lifelong dream of becoming a midwife came a step closer to reality during her studies at Madagascar’s Interregional Training Institute for Paramedics  (IFIRP), in the capital city of Antananarivo.

Annual Report

Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund Annual Report 2020

Saving lives and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on mothers and newborns

Number of pages: 56

Publication date: 01 Sep 2021

Author: UNFPA

The 2020 annual report of the Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund (MHTF) highlights UNFPA's key strategies and achievements within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – a global crisis that has overwhelmed health systems across the globe and severely impacted the global health workforce. Within this challenging environment, the MHTF continued to rise to the challenge, with a strong focus on promoting equity in access, universal health coverage, and improving accountability and quality of care.


Midwives continue to deliver amid uncertainty in Afghanistan

UNFPA’s midwifery helpline continues to operate, providing uninterrupted life-saving obstetric support to birth attendants facing pregnancy complications and dangerous deliveries. © UNFPA Afghanistan
  • 28 September 2021

NEW YORK, United Nations/Afghanistan – Even before the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the situation for pregnant women was dire – the country had one of the highest maternal death rates in the world.


Reproductive health supplies airlifted into quake-shattered Haiti

Tens of thousands of pregnant women are expected to need safe delivery services in quake-affected areas in the coming weeks. © UNFPA Haiti/Samuel Lamery Pierre
  • 22 September 2021

PORT-AU-PRINCE/NEW YORK – UNFPA and partner agencies airlifted more than 125 tonnes of life-saving supplies to earthquake-shattered parts of Haiti, part of the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation.


At high-level UN meeting, Afghan women call for support

Afghan women are calling for continued support for their health, rights and families. Image courtesy of OCHA.
  • 17 September 2021

UNITED NATIONS, New York – “My country is in a humanitarian crisis,” said Yalda Royan, an Afghan women’s rights advocate, speaking ahead of a high-level meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, held at the United Nations on Monday. “Eighteen million Afghans are in need of humanitarian aid, the majority of whom are women and children.”


Student midwives persevere amid conflict and pandemic in Afghanistan

Midwifery students learn critical life-saving skills. © UNFPA Afghanistan
  • 12 August 2021

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The COVID-19 pandemic is not the only crisis preventing students from attending class. The recent and intensified conflicts all over Afghanistan, particularly in Kandahar Province, have also resulted in widespread fear and movement restrictions – especially among women.  

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