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Midwives across Canada walking to end inequalities in maternal health


On May 5th 2011, over 400 midwives across Canada are walking with thousands of supporters to mark the International Day of the Midwife. Five kilometre walks have been organized in over 30 communities across Canada and in countries around the world to raise awareness and funds to tackle global inequalities in maternal and newborn health.Over 340 000 women die each year, with millions more suffering infection and disability as a result of childbirth. An estimated 350 000 additional midwives are needed to save not only mothers, but over one million newborn babies who die every year from preventable causes. The world needs midwives more than ever is the message that Canadians and midwives around the globe will be sharing with the world on May 5th.

Canadian midwives and their supporters are walking in Ottawa and in all provinces and territories to urge the Canadian government to fulfill their commitment to meeting Millennium Development Goals #4 and #5 (reduce child mortality and improve maternal health) by improving access to essential midwifery care worldwide.

“On May 5th, we will be walking shoulder to shoulder with midwives and mothers around the world to demonstrate our commitment to tackling maternal and newborn mortality” said Anne Wilson, President of the Canadian Association of Midwives. “Here in Canada, it is unacceptable that the infant mortality rate in First Nations communities is 1.5 times higher than in the rest of the country and that the stillbirth rate in Inuit communities is 3 times higher than the national average.”

“We want a commitment from government to increase access to midwifery services through legislation and funding for midwifery care in all provinces and territories, by increasing numbers of midwives in all areas including rural and remote communities, and by providing support for birthing centres” concluded Ms Wilson.

A National Capital walk is being held in Ottawa, beginning at the Women’s Memorial in Minto Park at 9:00am, located at the corner of Elgin and Gilmour Streets. The walk culminates on Parliament Hill, from 10:30am to 12:00pm. Speakers will include Anne Wilson, Maureen McTeer of the White Ribbon Alliance and Dr. André Lalonde of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.

The walks on May 5th are the start of a journey that finishes at the International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress in Durban, South Africa from June 19-23, 2011, a global gathering where 3000 midwives will share evidence of what works to reduce maternal mortality and improve the care and support available to mothers and newborns around the world.

For more information, please contact:

Anne Wilson
Canadian Association of Midwives/
Association canadienne des sages-femmes
[email protected]

Tonia Occhionero
Executive Director/Directrice générale
Canadian Association of Midwives/
Association canadienne des sages-femmes
[email protected]