Ontario Midwives Celebrate International Day of the Midwife

Toronto, May 5 – Today, May 5, 2010 midwives in Ontario and around the world celebrate the International Day of the Midwife.

“Midwives in Ontario are proud to be part of a model of care that serves as an inspiration to other health care providers around the world,” said AOM President Katrina Kilroy. “On this International Day of the Midwife, we hope more than ever that midwifery care is expanded in other parts of the world to women who need it most.”As the G8 prepares to meet in Ontario in June, Canadians have made a resounding commitment to maternal and newborn health at home and abroad. And this commitment is needed now more than ever. Of all the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, it is MDG No.5 – to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters by 2015 – that has seen the least progress made.

The theme of the International Day of the Midwife is “The World Needs Midwives Now More than Ever,” and indeed, G8 leaders must remember that the key to reducing maternal mortality is removing barriers to women accessing care and recruiting, training and deploying additional skilled health care workers in developing countries.

Canada is not only leading the call for an increase in midwifery care around the world, but is also seeing the need for more midwives here at home.

Thanks to the growing demand for midwifery care in Ontario and to initiatives from the provincial Liberal government, the number of midwives in the province has grown almost 60% in the last seven years – from 240 in 2002 to 480 in 2009.

Because of this investment in maternal and newborn care, the number of women able to access a midwife has grown from 7,718 in 2003-2004 to 12,913 in 2008-2009. “Midwives play an important role in Ontario’s health care system by providing soon-to-be parents with choices for birthing. I’m proud of the investment that the McGuinty government has made towards maternal and newborn care throughout the province, especially with the expanded scope of practice midwives received through the passing of Bill 179 – the Regulated Health Professions Statute Law Amendment Act,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

As experts in normal pregnancy and birth, midwives provide client-centred care that is safe and has a proven track record of excellent clinical outcomes.

Client-centred care contributes to excellent clinical outcomes and to high rates of satisfaction reported by midwifery clients. Midwives’ success with helping new mothers breastfeed means that 90% of Ontario’s midwifery clients are still nursing their babies six weeks after birth.

The midwifery model of care in Ontario is widely respected around the world, and many jurisdictions have sought to replicate the Ontario model which emphasizes continuity of care, choice of birthplace and informed choice.

This kind of investment in women and babies supports Canada’s goal of becoming a world leader of maternal and newborn care.

For further information: Joanna Zuk, Senior Communications Officer, Association of Ontario Midwives, Tel: (416) 425-9974 x2261, Cell: (416) 704-7452, comms[at]aom.on.ca

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