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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, 30 April 2018 - One in every 17 women bear the risk of dying during labour in Sierra Leone which emphasizes the ongoing need for more qualified midwives in the country.  Recognising this need, UNFPA continues to invest in midwives in Sierra Leone by supporting the increase of qualified and competent midwives to provide quality midwifery services, which is pivotal to reducing maternal and newborn deaths.

Yesterday marked another milestone in the era of midwifery in Sierra Leone as the seventh batch of student midwives graduated as part of a UNFPA project in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and with generous funds from UKaid.

According to Dr. Joan Shepherd, Principal of the National School of Midwifery in Freetown, “With UNFPA support the school has succeeded in training over 350 professional midwives who are now posted to work in regional hospitals and remotes places across the country.”

After completing their 18 months post-registration midwifery training, 47 student midwives graduated at a celebratory prize-giving ceremony in Freetown.

Speaking at the event, UNFPA country representative, Dr. Kim Dickson said, “Midwives are the backbone of a strong resilient health system, and work to ensure the survival of mothers and children in Sierra Leone.

 The event, which was in celebration of International Day of the Midwife which takes place annually on 5 May, was held under the theme:  ‘Midwives leading the way with quality of care’.