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The State of the World’s Midwifery 2021

The State of the World’s Midwifery (SoWMy) 2021 presents findings on the Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Adolescent Health (SRMNAH) workforce from 194 countries. The report, produced by UNFPA, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Novametrics, shows the progress and trends since the inaugural 2011 edition and identifies the barriers and challenges to future advancement. The report establishes a global shortage of 1.1 million SRMNAH workers, the largest shortage (900,000) being midwives.

Investment is urgently needed in education and training; management, regulation and work environment; leadership and governance, and service delivery. Analysis indicates that fully educated, licensed and integrated midwives supported by interdisciplinary teams can deliver about 90 per cent of the essential SRMNAH interventions across the life course, yet they account for less than 10 per cent of the global SRMNAH workforce. For midwives to achieve their full potential, bold investments by governments, policymakers, regulatory authorities, educational institutions, professional associations, international organisations, global partnerships, donor agencies, civil society organisations and researchers are needed at country, regional and global levels.

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