Using SOWMY as a Tool for Strengthening Midwifery at the Country Level

Session: Strengthening Midwifery in Mexico

Presenter: Raffaela Schiavon Ermani, Comite por una maternidad sin riesgos en México

The 2014 State of Midwifery in the World includes Mexico for the first time, detailing the number of available human resources and estimating time allocated to maternal and newborn health care. It estimates that Mexico today has 78 professional midwives (vocational level), 23,000 auxiliary (traditional) midwives, and 16,200 nurse midwives (obstetric nurses). The small group of professional midwives (not all of whom work in the public system) dedicate full time to providing reproductive health services, while traditional midwives provide an ever-decreasing number of services (approximately 1 – 2% of all births), and the vast majority of the nurse midwives play only a minor – if any – role in providing these services, as most are employed in administrative or support positions. As a result, Mexico’s estimated met need for maternal and newborn health care is only 61 percent. In conjunction with UNFPA-Mexico, the Mexico Safe Motherhood Committee (a network of civil society organizations, Mexican health sector, and international agencies), designed a Mexico-specific report that builds from SOWMY and provides greater detail for use in Mexico: what indicators are most useful to the advocacy community, what national policies and regulations uphold or fail to uphold midwifery, and recommendations for the country based on local conditions and demographic projections. For each of the SOWMY report’s recommendations for availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality, the Mexico-specific document provides specific recommendations, including the need to create jobs for midwives and adequate coordination with health personnel. Planning and increased deployment are also urgent, given that only 8 of Mexico’s 32 states have employed professional midwives in recent years. The Committee will share how it has adapted SOWMY to the national context and developed plans for using it as an advocacy tool with state-level health authorities, congressional committees and other health planners and operators.