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International Day Of The Midwife May 5th - College Of Midwives Praises 'Vital Workforce'

"Absolutely vital". That’s how the Chief Executive of the College of Midwives, Alison Eddy, is describing the midwives of Aotearoa in the lead up to International Day of the Midwife on Tuesday.

International Day of the Midwife is even more significant in 2020 as it is also the World Health Organisation’s International Year of the Midwife.

“With around *6700 babies born during Alert Level 4 and 3 in New Zealand (up to May 5th), midwives have not missed a beat,” says Ms Eddy. “Babies don’t stop being born because we are in lock down”.

The value and importance of New Zealand’s midwifery-led maternity model has been very clearly highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it has ensured ongoing seamless care for women, from midwives both in the community and in hospitals.

“We see this time and time again,” Ms Eddy says. “It happened during the Canterbury earthquakes; midwives just get on and do the essential work they are educated to do. Stepping outside their own family bubbles, community and hospital midwives have worked together closely to ensure that women and babies received the support and care they needed. For the dedication and commitment that you have shown, we salute you all.”

Alison Eddy says many women have been keen to avoid unnecessary contact with hospitals during this period, and our midwifery-led maternity model of care has enabled this to happen. For example, a significant increase in the number of requests from women for homebirths over this period has demonstrated the ability of the midwifery-led service to adapt to women’s changing needs. The College hopes to have some statistics today (May 4) from MOH to quantify this.

In hospitals, employed / core midwives support their community-based midwife colleagues by ensuring critical acute care is available. This further demonstrates how the maternity system works so effectively as a whole, ensuring women’s needs are at the centre of what midwives do.

“Today especially, we celebrate the incredible and indispensable work of both our community and hospital-based midwives. They are a key workforce playing a fundamental part in the health and wellbeing of our women and babies, and are present at the start of virtually every life. We continue to call for improvements to resourcing for both our hospital and community-based workforces, so this important time in the long-term health and wellbeing of families is recognised by politicians and policy makers alike. Sadly however, women’s health remains at the bottom of the funding barrel and this has to stop,” says Alison Eddy.

*Approx. 60,000 babies born per annum equates to 164.3 babies born per day; 41 days in lock down means around 6736 babies have been born up to May 5th, International Day of the Midwife.

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