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The 2016 International Day of the Midwife was observed in a forum at the University of Cape Coast Medical School Auditorium in the Central region on the 5th of May 2016 under the theme: Women and newborns: the heart of midwifery.

The First Lady HE Lordina Mahama has declared that “Midwives are the heart beats of every pregnant woman and newborn and not only are they at the heart”. This authoritative statement was part of the speech read on her behalf by the Honourable Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur. She congratulated all midwives and observed that they played a critical role in the achievements made on MDG 4 and 5 although Ghana did not meet the set targets. The Minister said, “because the unfinished business had to be completed within the framework of the SDGs, government has expanded social protection of the vulnerable through the “LEAP 1000 Initiative” in the three northern regions, specifically targeting pregnant women and women with children under the age of two.” She said it is with the view of ensuring that the target group has some regular income to cater for their socio-economic needs. The Minister acknowledged the role of UNFPA in the area of maternal health and mentioned the organization’s efforts towards elimination of obstetric fistula in Ghana as well as its Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) of which the President of the Republic is so much associated with. She concluded by stressing that the government had established the College of Nursing and Midwifery to promote continuous professional development in nursing, midwifery and related disciplines.

Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, UNFPA Representative in Ghana in his address informed the forum that in 2015, the available total midwifery workforce in the country was 5,711 but there were 1,268 graduated staff, who were yet to be posted. According to him, if by 2030, the size of the midwifery workforce expands to equivalent of 13,000 full-time midwifery service providers, Ghana could potentially have an estimated 80% of its population’s midwifery needs met. For this scenario to apply, he continued, Ghana requires further increases in both training and employment of midwives. The Representative added that if the total workforce is deployed geographically according to relative needs, these trained midwives would help reduce by approximately two thirds the current maternal mortality ratio. He concluded by observing that significant investments in midwifery are therefore essential if Ghana is to achieve its dream of reducing maternal and newborn deaths to the barest minimum by 2030.

As a highlight to the forum,  the Ministry of Health and UNFPA in recognition of professional attainment honoured practicing midwives from the ten administrative regions and the four teaching hospitals in the country. The awardees are as follows:

Ms Philomena Tamakloe: Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital

Mrs Felicia Owusu Ansah:  Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital

Ms Mary Koomson: Cape Coast Teaching Hospital

Ms Dorcas Afia Sarpomaa Avorga Aplaku: Ga South, Greater Accra Region 

Ms Monica Effinah: Central Region

Ms Felicia Cobbina: Mampong Hospital, Ashanti Region

Ms Theresa Agyiyire Cudjoe: Chereponi District Hospital, Northern Region

Ms Margaret Kodom: Brong Ahafo Region

Ms Jampana Zimuwura; Kassena- Nankana District,Upper East Region  

Ms Faustina Charity Addah: Essam Government Hospital, Western Region

Ms Bernice Tendrago Honore: Krachi West District, Volta Region

Mrs. Doris Darkoa Mantey: Koforidua Regional Hospital, Eastern Region

Ms Veronica Door: Lawra District, Upper West Region

Under the signature of the Chief Director of the Ministry, Dr. Afisah Zakaria and the UNFPA Representative Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, the awardees received a citation each and a working kit worth twelve thousand Ghana cedis.

Other categories of award winners were those who distinguished themselves at the 2015 licensure examinations for registered midwifery.

Ms Theresa Agyiyire Codjoe, from the Northern Region, who received the best midwife award had this to say,

“I am a midwife and this is what I do. My values are fear of God first and foremost, then passion for my job and empathy. I have been practicing for only two and half years now so it is with great joy that I have been chosen amongst the young and old as the best midwife for 2016. I will work hard and ensure that I keep the flame burning. I came all the way from Chereponi because it is really motivating that someone somewhere is watching whatever you are doing and has awarded you. To my fellow midwives, I urge you all to work as though you are working in the Lord’s vineyard and your efforts will never ever be in vain. This award will motivate me and I extend my appreciation to the Ministry and UNFPA for such support”

Dr. Gloria Quansah- Asare the Deputy Director General of the Ghana Health Service who chaired the event said in her closing remarks that midwifery is very critical to Ghana's health delivery system and as such, the Health Ministry and its allied institutions has created the opportunity for the profession to go as far as the graduate and postgraduate levels in midwifery. She urged the older and skilled midwives to mentor the young and upcoming ones and concluded by saying Ghana will continue to work for pregnant women and newborns under goal 3 of the SDGs.

In attendance were the “Omanhene” of Ogua traditional area, the queen mother of Anomabu, nurses and midwives from both government and private hospitals, students from midwifery institutions as well as representatives of development partners including the United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA Ghana. Musical melodies were provided by a vibrant choir from Winneba Hospital.