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Midwives deserve recognition

Midwives deserve recognition

International Day of the Midwife, celebrated around the world tomorrow, is a perfect opportunity for all New Zealanders to recognise a profession that plays a vital role in the health sector but is often overlooked, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

“Midwives are at the forefront of maternity care - more than 90 per cent of Kiwi mums have a midwife as their lead maternity carer, providing support during pregnancy, birth and for up to six weeks after a baby is born.

“Their work has contributed to world-leading service and reductions in infant and maternal mortality, premature births, and low birth weight rates.

“Midwives, along with other women’s groups, took and won this country’s first equal pay for equal work case and in 1990 won the right to practice independently of nurses, opening up new ways of working. There are now some 2700 midwives in New Zealand.

“Despite that, the profession is still struggling for recognition in some quarters, not least of which is the Government’s super agency, MBIE, whose annual ‘Occupational Outlook’ report completely ignores midwifery as a career option.

“Promoted by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the publication does a huge disservice to what is, of necessity, a female-dominated profession, by doing so.

“Tomorrow would be the perfect time to make amends,” Annette King said.


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