In one world, childbirth is overly medicalized. A C-section can be lifesaving in obstetric emergencies, but a rise in C-sections for nonemergencies has become a global concern. The second world is one in which access to essential health services is limited. More than 800 women and 7,000 babies who are less than a month old die every day due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth. The majority of these deaths could be prevented through access to quality health care.
Data shows that a professionalized midwifery workforce plays an integral part in avoiding maternal mortality, as well as a multitude of other maternity-related issues. Yet there is a global shortage of 1.1 million health personnel in sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health. In her opinion piece in Devex, Chun-mei Li discusses how the Center for Health Worker Innovation is working with partners to build and strengthen a thriving midwifery workforce that provides high-quality care everywhere.