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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 24 September 2022 –  A total of 136 state certified midwives on Saturday 24 September graduated at a ceremony held by the National School of Midwifery of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in Freetown.

Representing the Minister of Health and Sanitation as keynote speaker at the ceremony, Dr. Mustapha Kabba – Deputy Chief Medical Officer, highlighted four pillars for successful midwifery practice- commitment, empathy, quality and selflessness, noting that when a midwife embraces all four principles, they can meaningfully contribute to increased life expectancy and significant improvement in the maternal and infant indices.

“There will most certainly be times when your professional and personal ethics will be challenged by the system, actions and behaviour of colleagues, and clients you work with. Your success however depends on how well you confront these challenges in your work as professionals who have undertaken 18 months’ intensive midwifery training,” Dr. Kabba admonished the new midwives.

UNFPA Representative, Ms. Nadia Rasheed in her remarks stressed the outstanding role midwives play in achieving the agency’s transformative results of ending maternal mortality, ending unmet need for family planning and ending gender based violence and all forms of harmful practise. She said that Midwives have critical role to play in strengthening the health and well-being of women, adolescents and newborns, and ensuring and effective care within the reach of vulnerable individuals.

“Around the world, evidence clearly demonstrates that investing in empowered midwives is a key means for safeguarding life and for protecting the health and well-being of all,” Ms. Rasheed said.

UNFPA partners with the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to provide critical funding to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to train midwives by providing scholarships, strengthening the preceptorship program for improved clinical practice, and establishing computer laboratories, among other areas.  So far, the country has, over the last decade, successfully trained over 1,400 midwives.

Despite significant and commendable progress in recent years Sierra Leone remains among countries with highest maternal mortality rates globally.  The government of Sierra Leone has a target of reducing maternal death from an estimated 717 per 100,000 live births in 2019 to less than 300 per 100,000 live births by 2025.

“While this commitment may seem aspirational, it reflects the level of ambition that is needed for Sierra Leone to significantly accelerate progress to meet the SDG target of reducing maternal deaths to just 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. One of the critical investments required for this acceleration is to ensure that Sierra Leone meets the internationally recommended standard of 4 midwives for every 10,000 people, Ms. Rasheed said. 

Delivering her remarks, Ms. Emma Spicer, Development Director, British High Commission acknowledged that increasing the numbers of midwives alone is adequate to reduce maternal mortality.

FCDO supports the health systems by strengthening interventions that help midwives work in a functional health system, as well as support efforts towards improving quality of care and procurement of at least 65% of free health care initiative commodities.

“Whilst progress in the reduction of maternal mortality has been slow, we believe that strengthening the entire health system will eventually build resilience which will lead to improved outcomes in a more sustained manner,” Ms. Emma Spicer said.      


Media Contacts:

John Baimba Sesay | Web and Media Analyst | UNFPA Sierra Leone | Tel. +232 30953193 | e-mail: