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The UNFPA-supported School of Midwifery, Makeni (SOMM) of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation held its Graduation and Awards ceremony for 58 professional state certified midwives‬ (Set 4) 2013-2015, at the school's campus at Masubaon on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

The theme of the event was 'Strengthening Quality Midwifery Care'.

The UNFPA Country Representative, Dr Bannet Ndyanabangi, described the midwives as the backbone of the Free Health Care Initiative, which targets pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under Five, hence UNFPA has been standing and will continue to stand by them. 'You are our pillars and true partners in the fight to save mothers and babies lives', he said.

'As true pillars, like those of a strong house, you carry other three pillars on your shoulder: family planning, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care needed to save lives', he added. 

'UNFPA recognises that your tireless effort is a crucial step towards achieving the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals which succeeds the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he maintained.

He reaffirmed UNFPA's commitment to continue to support midwifery education, training and practice in the country.

Dr Bannet also urged the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to ensure that the newly certified midwives are posted to areas in need immediately.

Presently, UNFPA supports the school and the National School of Midwifery in Freetown with over 125 new intakes and 149 continuing students in the form of paying their tuition fees and quarterly allowances, providing teaching and learning equipment to the skills lab, and supportive supervision during clinical placement. 

UNFPA has also helped to train over 386 midwives, through funding support from CIDA, European Union, United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and Irish Aid.

The ceremony was chaired by Dr Santigie Sesay who deputised for the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brima Kargbo.