Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Strengthening quality midwifery education for Universal Health Coverage 2030

Working together to ensure quality care for all mothers and newborns

A mother with infant, cared for by a midwife.
Flickr Creative Commons License/Asian Development Bank

Launch of the report:

Strengthening quality midwifery education for Universal Health Coverage 2030: Framework for action

Book cover image.

The Framework for Action to Strengthen Midwifery Education is a guide to develop high-quality, sustainable pre- and in-service midwifery education to save the lives of mothers and newborns. Launched today at the 72nd World Health Assembly, it has been developed by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and ICM and includes a seven-step action plan for use by all stakeholders in maternal and newborn health.

Elizabeth Iro, WHO's Chief Nursing Officer introduces the Framework for Strengthening Quality Midwifery Education

Key messages

When midwives are educated to international standards, and midwifery includes the provision of family planning, it could avert more than 80% of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Achieving this impact also requires that midwives are licensed, regulated, fully integrated into health systems and working in interprofessional teams.

Beyond preventing maternal and newborn deaths, quality midwifery care improves over 50 other health-related outcomes, including in sexual and reproductive health, immunization, breastfeeding, tobacco cessation in pregnancy, malaria, TB, HIV and obesity in pregnancy, early childhood development and postpartum depression.

Midwives are uniquely able to provide essential services to women and newborns in even the most difficult humanitarian, fragile and conflict-affected settings. This means that midwives will make a significant contribution to delivering on the commitments made in the Astana Declaration on Primary Health Care and the Global Action Plan on Healthy Lives and Well-Being.

Educating midwives to international standards is a cost-effective investment as it saves resources by reducing costly and unnecessary interventions

Yet there is a startling lack of investment in quality midwifery education, despite the evidence of impact. Now is the time to take collective action.