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UNFPA, together with the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), organized a panel discussion on July 7, 2009 on the scaling up of midwifery services in Ethiopia. The panel discussion had the objective of discussing and reflecting on the need for scaling up midwifery services to ensure accessibility to quality skilled birth attendance and enhance reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Health, representatives of UN agencies, pertinent professional associations and Non-governmental Organizations aired their views on the issue during the panel discussion after a series of presentations were made.

According to the Health and Health related indicators of 2007/2008, Ethiopia has only 1,244 Midwives for a population of 73.9 million people. The required number of midwives based on the WHO standard is one per 5,000 people. The 2005 World Health Report: Making Every Mother and Child Count identified midwives as the essential human resource in health systems for achieving MDGs 4 and 5.  All over the world, a campaign has been initiated to increase the number of midwives using the theme "The world needs midwives NOW more than ever". UNFPA, together with the International Confederation of Midwives, launched a new programme on midwifery in connection with the celebration of the International Day of the Midwife on May 5, 2008.