Acknowledging daily and silent heroism in Vietnam

Phan Thi Hanh receiving the Midwives4All award certificate from Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander

Phan Thi Hanh receiving the Midwives4All award certificate from Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander


Phan Thi Hanh, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Midwives, has become the first Vietnamese awardee of the Midwives4all award, a global initiative by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise awareness about the benefits of midwives and midwifery.

She received the award at a ceremony held by the Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi on May 18.

Hanh said the honour makes her feel a strong sense of responsibility towards the health of mothers and infants and the reduction of maternal death.

“I feel really privileged to have found work that I am passionate about and that it is being recognised. I am very pleased and humbled to have been chosen for this award and I am reminded of the unique and varied contributions of every single midwife in our amazing community and of all of those who, in various and silent ways, support the work we do,” said Hanh.

Established in 1995, the Vietnam Association of Midwives has provided obstetric services for thousands of disadvantaged women living in remote areas.

Phan Thi Hanh has successfully initiated a capacity-building project targeting grassroots level medical facilities, which has helped needy mothers access high-quality and free-of-charge services.

At the ceremony, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander stressed that the improvement of health care for mothers and infants benefits the society as a whole.

“Improved maternal health benefits the whole of society. Midwives not only save lives, they are also actors of social change. We are here today to honour thousands of midwives around the world and in Vietnam who work hard to save lives of women and children. Mrs Phan Thi Hanh is a great role model in this regard”, she said.

“In Vietnam, midwives are one of the most critical human resources of the health system. Over the years, the Association of Midwives under the leadership of Mrs Phan Thi Hanh has implemented many projects focusing on the health development for poor women and children in the underserved areas of Vietnam,” said Prof. Nguyen Viet Tien, Vice Minister of Health in his congratulatory note to the award ceremony.

The “Midwives4all” campaign is part of the global awareness campaign with the same name, launched in 2015 by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign affairs with the aim to increase the number of midwives around the globe.

The award is presented by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, together with the Swedish Embassy in Hanoi and the International Confederation of Midwives.

“Most deaths could be prevented with the help of qualified midwives and doctors. Our hope is that will take on a life of its own and engage, inspire and stimulate debate about the central role that midwives play in strengthening the health and rights of women and girls. And that individuals, organizations and decision-makers will come together to take on the challenge”, Ambassador Camilla Mellander added.

Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi