Following on from the success of the State of the World’s Midwifery Report, the UNFPA’s Arab States Regional Office (ASRO) commissioned a report to analyse and better understand the state of midwifery in 15 selected countries which represent the region’s diversity.

Two of the selected countries (Libya and Syria) could not carry out the survey because of competing priorities at the time of the survey and restrictions on mobility. Seven of the 13 countries, (Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) were already included in the main SoWMy 2014 report, and ASRO expanded the same survey to the remaining 6 countries (Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine and Tunisia). These six countries were asked to complete the SoWMy questionnaire (covering the midwifery workforce, education, regulation, professional associations, policy and planning frameworks, and progress since 2011) and their responses were added to those from the original seven countries, to enable an analysis of the state of midwifery across the region.

The 13 countries included in this report reflect the diversity across the Arab region: some countries have very low rates of maternal and neonatal mortality and very large health workforces, whereas others have very high mortality rates and workforces that are too small to provide basic SRMNH care to all those who need it. The report estimates that midwives, when educated and regulated to international standards, have the competencies to meet 95% of the SRMNH need in the region. However, midwives and nurse-midwives make up only 34% of the full-time equivalent SRMNH workforce in the 13 countries featured in the report.

Based on current population levels and epidemiological conditions, it is estimated that the midwifery workforce in these 13 countries needs to provide just over 200 million consultations per year for family planning, antenatal and postnatal care and to attend 7.9 million births per year. The SRMNH workforce is estimated to be sufficiently large to meet all of the need in 3 of the 13 countries. In the remaining countries, estimates of the level of met need range from 22% to 98%.

The completed report Analysis of the midwifery workforce in selected Arab countries was launched at the UNFPA ASRO Regional Workshop on Midwifery  held in Cairo, November 2015.

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