Canada recognizes International Midwives Day by supporting new initiatives in South Sudan

May 5, 2013 - Today, to mark International Midwives Day, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, announced two new initiatives to support the profession of midwifery as practised by certified midwives, and to promote safe maternity care in communities in South Sudan.

"Mothers and their newborns have the right to safe, quality health care," said Minister Fantino. "International Midwives Day gives us reason to pause and give thanks to midwives all over the world for their dedication to the care of pregnant women, and their commitment to treating each pregnant woman according to her unique physical and personal needs."

Canada will provide support for the deployment of 30 midwives from various countries to four health facilities across South Sudan to increase women's access to qualified midwives, mentor South Sudanese midwifery students, and help to reduce maternal and newborn deaths.

Since the beginning of the Muskoka Initiative, aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality and improving the health of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries, Canada has helped train hundreds of new midwives globally. For example, in Afghanistan, Canada funded two projects that produced 149 trained midwives. Likewise, in Haiti, Canada supported the training of 140 midwives in maternal health services, which helped thousands of infants, children and women receive essential micronutrient supplements.

Today's announcement reaffirms Canada's commitment to improving the delivery of quality health care to vulnerable mothers, newborns and children around the world. Both initiatives will be undertaken through the Strengthening Midwifery Services project and the Deploying Midwives to South Sudan initiative, respectively.

To learn more about Canada's support to training midwives, visit CIDA's Saving the lives of mothers and children in Bolivia web page to read about a success story.

- 30 -

For more information, media should contact:

Daniel Bezalel Richardsen
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: danielbezalel.richardsen@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca
Follow us on Twitter: @CIDA_CA

Backgrounder

Canada supports midwives in South Sudan

To mark International Midwives Day, Canada will provide more than $30 million to support midwives in South Sudan. This will help mothers and their newborns have greater access to safe, quality health care.

Two projects are being announced today:

  • The Strengthening Midwifery Services in South Sudan project aims at training skilled midwives, nurses and clinical staff at four national health training institutes established by the Government of South Sudan. This project will improve access to high quality midwifery services and reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity ($19.5 million over 4 years, with the United Nations Population Fund).
  • The Deploying Midwives to South Sudan project will help deploy 30 midwives from various countries to health facilities across South Sudan to increase women's access to qualified midwives, and to reduce maternal and newborn deaths. These midwives will conduct or oversee some 100,000 safe deliveries. They will also mentor midwifery and nursing students studying at health training institutes in South Sudan ($10.6 million over 4 years, with the United Nations Population Fund).