Midwife Conference Held to Improve Maternal Health in Africa
In Ghana, approximately 70 midwifery leaders met to participate in a workshop focusing on improving access to midwife services throughout the African continent. The workshop is organized by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and will last for five days. Throughout the workshop, the leaders will work to develop plans to promote midwife education. According to UNFPA, approximately 358,000 women die annually from
preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth, and 90 percent of these deaths occur in developing nations.
ICM President Frances Day-Stirk stated, "Evidence shows that access to competent, educated midwives and high-quality midwifery services significantly reduces the number of women and babies who die in pregnancy and childbirth. As a result of ICM's work, midwives now have global standards against which countries can assess their competencies, education and regulation of their workforce and save lives."
In September, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank released a report stating that although maternal mortality rates have decreased by 34 percent since 1990, the decline in the rate of pregnancy-related deaths is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal target for 2015. Currently, there are approximately 1,000 maternal deaths per day caused by easily preventable conditions that include severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion.
Media Resources: UNFPA 8/25/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/21/11
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .