Message by Hon. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health on International Day of the Midwife 2020, May 5, 2020.

Volda lawrence-398

Hon. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Public Health

Today May 5th, 2020 marks the International Day of the Midwife, and I wish to join  the world in recognizing this special cadre of health Care professionals – our Midwives, expressing praise and thanks to you for the tremendous work you are doing for the people of our nation in providing the essential care and services to our mothers and their newborns.

The International Confederation of Midwives has chosen as its theme for 2020 “Midwives with women: celebrate, demonstrate, mobilize, unite – our time is NOW! and I wish to elaborate on this theme as we celebrate International Day of the Midwife.

Amidst this COVID-19 crisis in our country, one may ask, what is there to celebrate? As a Ministry we celebrate the dedication of Midwives for:

    • the safe delivery of a life into this world which takes a lot of skill and dedication.
    • their bravery in traversing the Pomeroon and Essequibo rivers, and even the Kwakwani and Bartica rough roads in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes late at nights to get their patients to higher levels of care.
    • their care in emergency settings and important role in Guyana in helping us to achieve our Sustainable Development Goals especially # 3 and Universal Health Coverage.
    • their dedication in ensuring that every child is protected against vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, measles, and whooping cough.
    • their role in helping our young girls to achieve their full potential by ensuring they have the necessary services so they can be protected against the HPV and return to school to fulfill their dreams.

Yes, we celebrate you Midwives.

What are we demonstrating this year 2020? Even as we battle COVID-19, our Midwives are part of the team in our communities helping to trace our Case contacts – demonstrating that they are strong and brave and that their care extends beyond midwifery to the general health and wellbeing of all people. Worthy of note is the fact that Midwives have a special role to play in the antenatal care, delivery and post natal care of women who may be suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Our records do show that while others are skeptical, the midwife dons his/her PPE and stands like the brave, side by side with her mother! Hats off to you midwives!

And yes, our midwives have been in the mobilization mode even as another vaccination episode is on stream in our country. I salute you our brave soldiers as you strive to achieve that (more than) 90% coverage. I extend my gratitude to all as you move out of your comfort zone and into the communities to meet patients and for your efforts in health promotion, disease prevention and delivering primary and community care.

Above all, there is always the opportunity for greater unity for the implementation of initiatives such as our Safe Mother Initiative – that encourages us to provide essential services that meet the needs of the adolescent girl, the pregnant woman and her infant – throughout the life cycle.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am cognizant of the fact that achieving “health for all” will depend on there being sufficient numbers of well-trained and educated, regulated and well supported nurses and midwives, who receive pay and recognition commensurate with the services and quality of care that they provide. This Government is committed in this mandate for all of our health care professional including our midwives.

Investing in nurses and midwives is good value for money. We believe (as the report of the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth stated) that investments in education and job creation in the health and social sectors will result in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth.

In conclusion, let me again join with the world in expressing heartfelt congratulations to all midwives on this International Day of the Midwife 2020. Thank you for the work you do and I encourage you to continue to fight for the protection and defense of women, girls and midwives irrespective of the varying challenges we experience and even in the face of COVID-19.

The Government of Guyana via the Ministry of Public Health is committed to joining you Midwives along with our women as we celebrate, demonstrate, mobilize, unite for a healthy Guyana– our time is NOW!

Long live the Midwives Association of Guyana!

Long live Midwives!

Happy International Day of the Midwife!