Candlelit vigil to mark International Day of the Midwife
28 April 2009
Midwifery staff at West Suffolk Hospital are to mark International Day of the Midwife by holding a candlelit vigil to raise awareness of the plight of mothers in developing countries.
On Tuesday (5 May), staff from the maternity unit will light 60 candles outside the hospital in a symbolic tribute to the women who suffer and die in childbirth in Africa and other developing countries. The event has been organised to raise awareness of shocking statistics which show that one woman dies every minute in childbirth around the world.
The first International Day of the Midwife took place in 1991 with the theme "Towards safe birth for all by the year 2000". This year's event calls for more action to meet a United Nations' goal to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by 75% and increase the proportion of births attended by a skilled health professional.
Patricia Davis, head of midwifery at the hospital, said: "The International Day of the Midwife is designed to celebrate the knowledge and skills of midwives from around the world, along with the enormous contribution they make to caring for mothers and giving their babies the best possible start in life.
"New mothers in the UK receive some of the best care in the world throughout their pregnancy and the birth of their child, but unfortunately this isn't the case everywhere. This year's event is specifically designed to highlight the plight of mothers in developing countries, where over 60% of women still can't access safe, high quality healthcare.
"Every year in Africa and South Asia, more than one million babies die within their first 24 hours of life because of a lack of appropriate healthcare. We hope that as many people as possible will join us for the vigil on 5 May to help raise awareness of these shocking statistics and press for change."
Midwifery staff will begin the vigil at 1pm and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information about International Day of the Midwife, visit www.rcm.org.uk and click on the links from the homepage.