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S5, E3: Bring back the midwife | Tell it like it is

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

The female talent pipeline is a leaky one with women dropping off at various points. One of the reasons women drop out of the workforce is, of course, childbirth. Many women in reproductive age-span die due to complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth or abortion. One of the key indicators of maternal mortality is the Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)which is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 100,000 live births during the same time period. Recently, the Government of India published MMR for 2016 -18, which stood at 113. To put this into context, the target 3.1 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by United Nations aims at reducing the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births. Clearly, there is some catching up to do. So, what can be done? One of the ways that countries like Canada, Sri Lanka and the UK have combated MMR is to introduce trained midwives vital to the care and delivery of low-risk pregnant women.

It is important to mention here that about 75% of all pregnant women fall in the low-risk category and it is the 25% cases that are complicated and require an obstetrician’s attention.

With over 25 million children born a year, and only 86,000 professionally trained midwives, there is a huge gap.

This episode focuses on maternal mortality and helping women enjoy motherhood without the inherent risks of childbirth through a simple, effective, and forgotten method. My guest is Dr. Evita Fernandez, Chairperson, Fernandez Foundation, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She is the recipient of ‘The Lifetime Achievement in Healthcare Award’ by FICCI, Hyderabad, besides a whole host of other awards. The Government of Telangana felicitated her for rendering exemplary services in the Field of Medicine in 2017. In 2011, she introduced a, Professional Midwifery Education and Training Programme, committed to creating a national cadre of professional midwives. I caught up with her to understand how midwifery could be the solution to helping millions of women enjoy childbirth and have agency over their own bodies.

Read the full transcript of the interview:

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