International Day of the Midwife

International Day of the Midwife

The International Day of the Midwife (IDM) is observed globally on 5th May to advocate for investment in quality midwifery care around the world, improving sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in the process.

Key facts

  • Approximately 27 million men and women make up the global nursing and midwifery workforce. This accounts for nearly 50% of the global health workforce.
  • There is a global shortage of health workers, in particular nurses and midwives, who represent more than 50% of the current shortage in health workers.
  • The largest needs-based shortages of nurses and midwives are in South East Asia and Africa.
  • For all countries to reach Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and well-being, WHO estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and midwives by the year 2030.
  • Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering primary and community care. They provide care in emergency settings and will be key to the achievement of universal health coverage.
  • Achieving health for all will depend on there being sufficient numbers of well-trained and educated, regulated and well supported nurses and midwives, who receive pay and recognition commensurate with the services and quality of care that they provide.
  • Investing in nurses and midwives is good value for money. The report of the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth concluded that investments in education and job creation in the health and social sectors result in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth.
  • Globally, 70% of the health and social workforce are women compared to 41% in all employment sectors. Nursing and midwifery occupations represent a significant share of the female workforce.

Source of info: WHO

The State of the World’s Midwifery 2021

Key messages


    • The evidence is in: investing in midwives saves lives, improves health and strengthens health systems.
    • Increased investment in midwives could save up to 4.3 million lives every year by averting 67% of maternal deaths, 64% of neonatal deaths, and 65% of stillbirths.
    • We are experiencing a global shortage of 900,000 midwives. Of the midwives we do have, substantial barriers are preventing them from achieving their full potential.
  • To close the gap by 2030, 1.3 million new SRMNAH workers (mostly midwives and mostly in Africa) are needed in the next 10 years. Currently we are experiencing a global shortage of 900,000 midwives.
  • There is a global needs-based shortage of 900,000 midwives. There is a shortage of all types of SRMNAH workers, but the largest shortage is of midwives.
  • The midwife shortage cannot be filled by other occupations because there are global shortages of these other occupations too. More midwives would not only give more women, adolescents and newborns access to their unique skills, but would also free up doctors and nurses to focus on other health needs.
  • The rate of progress in building the SRMNAH workforce is not improving at the rate required to meet SDG 3, and the gap between high- and low-income countries is projected to widen.

Lives saved

  • Increasing coverage of midwife-delivered interventions (health interventions that can be delivered in their entirety by midwives) by 25% every 5 years could avert 41% of maternal deaths, 39% of neonatal deaths, and 26% of stillbirths by 2035. That’s 2.2 million deaths averted per year.
  • A modest increase in coverage of midwife-delivered interventions – 10% every 5 years – could avert 22% of maternal deaths, 23% of neonatal deaths, and 14% of stillbirths, equating to 1·3 million deaths averted per year.
  • Universal (95%) coverage of midwife-delivered interventions would avert 67% of maternal deaths, 64% of neonatal deaths, and 65% of stillbirths, allowing 4·3 million lives to be saved annually by 2035.
  • The impact of midwives — 4.3 million lives saved. Every single year.

Improved health

  • It’s not just a matter of life or death. Midwives can improve health, too.
  • Midwives could provide up to 90% of essential sexual, reproductive, maternal newborn, and adolescent health care across the lifespan. Despite this, they currently account for less than 10% of the global SRMNAH care workforce.
  • Investing in midwives leads to healthier families, more productive communities, and more robust health systems.


  • Midwives are critical – even and especially during a global pandemic.
  • COVID-19 has dramatically impacted all aspects of health systems, including sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health care. Service disruption risks eroding hard-fought gains in health outcomes and increasing unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, unsafe abortions and increased health risks for mothers, newborns and adolescents.
  • COVID-19 has worsened the existing global shortage of midwives.
  • Midwives can provide care for women, children and adolescents outside of health facilities and near where they live, which is particularly important now amid the pandemic since this can prevent medical services from being overrun.
  • Homebirths protect women and families from exposure to COVID inside health facilities. Midwives working in communities can provide care to women where they live.
  • We must avoid drafting midwives into the COVID response in health care facilities. Deploying midwives from midwifery to nursing services to provide care to general patients with COVID-19 takes them away from their essential role with women and makes the midwife shortage even worse.


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


Sagun’s Blog

Search Box


Nepal Health Jobs


Leave a Reply


Public Health Update (Sagun’s Blog) is a popular public health portal in Nepal. Thousands of health professionals are connected with Public Health Update to get up-to-date public health updates, search for jobs, and explore opportunities.
#1 Public Health Blog for sharing Job opportunities and updates in Nepal

”Public Health Information For All”
– Sagun Paudel, Founder

Public Health Initiative, A Registered Non-profit organization – All Right Reserved. 2011-2023. Contact us.