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Midwifery. 1996 Dec;12(4):159-64.

Safe motherhood at risk?

Author information

1
Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Abstract

PIP:

Health professionals' negative attitudes toward clients often exacerbate the problems women face in terms of health status and access to health care. Thus, the health professionals can themselves be obstacles to women seeking the health care they need. A key challenge to midwives, in addition to providing technically competent services, is gaining insight into the people for whom they are responsible so that childbirth traditions are treated with respect and women are offered dignity. Safe motherhood requires intersectoral collaboration. Many innovative approaches to safe motherhood are based on the community's participation in planning services that meet the needs of women. Other approaches are based on decentralization of services. For example, a large university teaching hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, set up birthing centers around the city to take the pressure off the hospital. Midwives head up these centers, which are close to the women's homes. Decentralization of delivery services has improved the physical and emotional outcomes for mothers and newborns. Midwives must be prepared to articulate concerns about inequalities and deficiencies in the health care system in order to persuade the government to change. Women, including midwives, need to form multidisciplinary alliances to work together to effect change. The front-line workers in maternity care are midwives. They should adopt the following strategies to become even more effective in their efforts to make motherhood safer. They should listen to what women say about their needs. They should scale services to a manageable, human scale. They should learn the skills to become politically active advocates. They should work with other midwives, women, leaders, and other professional groups. Motherhood can be safe when women have more control over their own decision making, the education to liberate themselves to make their own decisions, and access to skilled care.

PMID:
9069908
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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