Cardiff University is to work with the World Health Organization on advancing midwifery around the globe, having been recognised for its education and practice development.
The WHO has officially designated the university’s school of healthcare sciences as a collaborating centre for midwifery development.
“We will support WHO to strengthen midwifery education and practice”
It will be the only midwifery collaborating centre in the WHO European region and one of only two collaborating centres in the world that solely focus on midwifery.
The new collaborating centre has expertise in a wide range of midwifery education and a work plan has been developed to help support the WHO’s wider policies.
The key areas of focus for the centre include helping the WHO to map midwifery education across Europe, in order to monitor progress.
It will also develop an evidence-based resource for countries wanting to develop a midwifery education programme and provide expert advice to countries about midwifery education and curriculum development.
“Cardiff University has made significant contributions to the field of midwifery”
Professor Billie Hunter, who has been appointed director of the new collaborating centre, said: “It’s a great honour and privilege, both personally and for Cardiff University.
“I’m very excited about future opportunities to work with the midwifery team at Cardiff University and our international colleagues to contribute to the important work of WHO,” she said.
Galina Perfilieva, programme manager for human resources for health at WHO/Europe, added: “We are delighted to welcome the school of healthcare sciences at Cardiff to the European and global networks of WHO collaborating centres for nursing and midwifery.
“Over the years, Cardiff University has made significant contributions to the field of midwifery, and the designation as a collaborating centre is recognition of its efforts,” she said.
She added that, as a collaborating centre, the school would “generate evidence and good practices” in midwifery education and practice, and provide technical advice to WHO member states.
Midwifery has been identified by the WHO as the key to improving global maternal and infant health. But it is estimated that 18 million more midwives and nurses will be needed, especially in low-income countries, to ensure effective provision for the world’s population by 2030.
Cardiff midwife education get WHO seal of approval
Speaking of the importance of the collaboration, Professor Hunter said: “Every year over 300,000 women die because of pregnancy related conditions, and 90% of these deaths are preventable.
“We know that quality midwifery can avert more than four in five maternal deaths, but in many countries, midwives are not well trained or supported in practice,” she said.
“We will support WHO to strengthen midwifery education and practice across the 53 member states of the WHO European region, in order to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies,” she added.
The university joins over 700 collaborating centres in 80 countries supporting WHO programmes.