“The midwife helps reduce maternal and infant mortality and is an exemplary role model to fellow colleagues, friends and citizens. It is too seldom that midwives are rewarded for their support, assistance and guidance to pregnant women and the newly born children.” Those were the words of Mr Lars Ronnås, Sweden’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, as he spoke at the International Day of the Midwife celebrations at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo on May 5, 2016.
The event, led by partners of UNFPA Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives (ZICOM), was held in honour of Zimbabwean midwifery and to celebrate the progress that has been made in recent years in terms of pre- and post-natal health. 80% of all births in Zimbabwe are now assisted, up from 60% just seven years ago, and 77% of all mothers now receive a post-birth checkup, up from 27% in 2010, just to name a few of the improvements made in recent years. Among the guests at the event were Vice President Hon. Mphoko and UNFPA Zimbabwe representative Cheikh Tidiane Cisse, both of whom underlined the important role of trained midwives in improving maternal health.
Last year, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the International Confederation of Midwives handed out its first Midwives4all Award to an outstanding midwife in Uganda.
This year, midwifery confederations across the world were invited to nominate particularly outstanding individuals within the midwifery profession in their home countries.
In total – the International Confederation of Midwives selected 13 outstanding individuals within the profession who each have done a remarkable job. Acting as role models, be it in rural or urban settings – be it as midwives, midwifery tutors or actors in the national confederation.
One of the key figures behind the remarkable improvement in Zimbabwe is Lilian Dzodze, president of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Midwives. A progressive woman who has served as a midwife at both rural district, provincial level and at the central hospital, before advancing to act as teacher and tutor to the next generation of midwives, she has also over the past decade helped to expand and professionalise the national confederation – efforts that altogether earned her this year’s Midwives4All award for Excellence in Midwifery.
Embassy of Sweden in Harare