Despite progress in the fight against maternal and infant mortality, more than 300,000 women die each year from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. 2.7 million newborns die in the first 28 days of life. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 550 women die every day from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Yet increasingly, the world is realizing that these deaths are preventable and that quality care is imperative to keep these mothers and their children alive and healthy.
In the promotion, prevention and provision of maternal and child health care, midwives are the frontline actors. In Africa, they are the pillars of care. They assist women through pregnancy and childbirth, provide postpartum care, family planning and care for the prevention of breast and cervical cancer.
However, many obstacles prevent these actors from assuming the expected workload: lack of staff, poorly trained personnel, limited access to health services, poor infrastructure, lack of information for women due to low level of education, lack of resources from families. It is therefore important to focus on professional training and staff management that builds on the experiences of midwives, and to strengthen the health system through the implementation of innovative interventions.
The work of ENDA Santé
ENDA Santé, through its SANSAS, Community Health and VIMOS projects, works closely with health care providers and the community to improve the quality of reproductive health care. It supports the health system by providing equipment (purchase of ultrasound, medical ambulance, delivery kits), the rehabilitation and construction of health posts and hospitals, and capacity building for midwives and other stakeholders through training sessions.
In addition, ENDA Santé has set up a mobile strategy to reach out to populations in difficult areas. Through its mobile clinics, outings are regularly organised in collaboration with different health districts, Bajenu Gox (neighbourhood godmothers) or peer educators for the youth target. On occasion, prevention services are offered: HIV screening, cervical cancer screening and FP services. These actions aim to strengthen the provision of quality care in hard-to-reach areas and contribute to the improvement of reproductive health care.
This month of May, dedicated to midwives, gives ENDA Santé the opportunity to pay tribute to these actors for their daily work in promoting and raising awareness of the essential care they offer to mothers and newborns.