Since 1991, 5 May is earmarked and is celebrated as the International Day of the Midwife. In 2020, the theme of the day is: Midwives with Women: Celebrate, Demonstrate, Mobilise, Unite - Our time is now. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), defines a midwife as a person who has successfully completed midwifery education programme that is based on the ICM essential competencies for basic midwifery practice and the framework of the ICM global standards for midwifery education and is recognised in the country where it is located, who has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and or legally licensed to practice midwifery and use the tittle midwife and who demonstrates competency in the practice of midwifery. According to the World Health Organisation, midwives are the most appropriate cadre who can take care of women and their babies during pregnancy, labour and delivery and the postpartum period.
Furthermore, research has proven that a stronger workforce for midwives is essential to achieve global and national targets related to universal health coverage; maternal, child and adolescent health care services. In addition, midwives around the world stand with women and they play an active role in driving progress towards gender equality in communities and countries. As the world celebrate the International day of the midwife, I appreciate each and every midwife in Namibia who has ever taken time to teach, educate and coach colleagues, peers and students about midwifery skills. I thank every midwife who has ever offered antenatal care services to women, a midwife who has brought a smile on a woman’s face by assisting her to deliver and catch a new-born baby. I applaud each midwife who has ever rendered postnatal services to women and their babies. I thank that midwife in the community who has offered family planning services to women and girls of reproductive age.
Above all, I thank and encourage every midwife in Namibia to continue partnering with women but I also request women to partner with midwives. I recognise midwives who use their voices to speak up in community discussions around contraception, and sexual reproductive health and rights. During this unprecedented time of Covid-19, midwives continue to ensure that women are treated with respect and their rights are protected. Midwives continue to fight day and night for women to recognise their right to choose a normal birth under the care of a midwife. As midwives we endeavour to become gender champions in the Namibian communities, become stronger partners with women, protectors and defenders of women’s rights. Therefore it’s our time to take action! The issues around midwives working with limited resources including human resources cannot go unnoticed, issues around little to no support and recognition cannot be ignored. However, despite the challenging working environments, we still continue to bring smiles to women’s faces and their families whenever a new life is born. We are midwives who persevere, midwives with the courage to persist by being the best and doing more with less. We continue to build trusting relationships with women during their pregnancy, labour and postpartum period and thus continue to be trusted members in the community. I encourage midwives to send and share pictures showcasing their work with women; also, women, partners and families are encouraged to send and share your pictures with a midwife. All pictures can be shared on our Facebook page @IMANamibia with hashtag #IThank and add the name of a midwife, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; sms or WhatsApp (0812363203). Your pictures will be re-posted and shared with our network on our social media platforms for the purpose of celebrating midwives of the world. To all the spectacular midwives, Happy International Day of the Midwife.
*Tekla Shiindi-Mbidi is a Young Midwife Leader and a member of IMANA board of directors.