Published in Ugandan newspaper New Vision 8 April 2015.
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, Urban Andersson, will today (April 8, 2015) launch the Midwives4all campaign in Uganda.
The campaign is in recognition of the fundamental role of midwives in maternal and newborn health. Below is his statement.
During my travels in Uganda I have experienced the sincere dedication and pride among midwives I have met all over the country.
Despite scarce resources and an immense pressure on the maternity wards they are dutifully soldiering on.
These extraordinary professionals of Uganda are one reason why the Swedish government is redoubling its efforts to push for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that have been globally recognised as not progressing in accordance with targets set in many countries.
These are the MDG 4: Reduce child mortality and MDG 5: Improve maternal health. The Swedish government has made fulfilling these goals a political priority, backed up by substantial financial resources in our development co-operation.
Currently, only half of Uganda’s children are born in a clinic or with the assistance of a trained midwife. Actually, every day, 20 women in Uganda die during pregnancy or child birth. Most of these deaths are avoidable, if proper maternal care is provided.
In recognition of the fundamental role of midwives in maternal and neonatal health, and in line with the long Swedish tradition of engaging in maternal health, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has launched a global awareness campaign, midwives4all.
The overall goal of this campaign is to influence policy makers, mobilise communities and attract young people to the midwifery profession. Starting today, the Embassy of Sweden will use midwives4all to discuss the role of midwives and how different stakeholders can contribute to realising the MDG 4 and MDG 5 in Uganda.
Midwifery is a key element of reproductive, maternal and newborn healthcare. Investments in midwives saves lives of mothers and newborn children. It is recognised as the single most value-for-money intervention in primary healthcare.
I applaud the Government of Uganda for reintroducing professional midwifery courses in the majority of the country’s training schools. Furthermore, remuneration packages and training opportunities for health staff working in hard-to-reach areas are being improved.
Sweden has over the last years invested in increasing the number of trained and practising midwives in Uganda, with a special focus on making midwifery a career of choice for young people. I hope that this campaign will attract even more young people to become midwives and make a difference in their communities.
The International Day of the Midwife is celebrated on May 5. This is an opportunity to celebrate the progress made, identify challenges and find solutions to how the critical cadre of midwives can be scaled up.
In recognition of the outstanding work that is being conducted by Uganda’s midwives and to stimulate progress, I will present an award on May 5, to persons or organisations in Uganda that are advocating the role of midwives and the importance of maternal health care.
To conclude, midwives are our unsung heroes. They deserve to be acknowledged as such. Let us together give them our praise and recognition, starting here and now.
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda