My Midwife: New photo series shows mothers and midwives around the world in the hours after birth

TORONTO, June 14, 2017 /CNW/ - From June 18 – 22, more than 4,000 midwives from around the world will gather in Toronto for the International Congress of Midwives. WaterAid will participate in the Congress, and is calling on midwives everywhere to join its Healthy Start campaign advocating for quality healthcare for all by 2030 by ensuring every healthcare facility in the world has clean water, good sanitation and good hygiene.

From providing emotional and medical support during labour, to teaching new parents how to care for their newborns, WaterAid's new photo series reveals how much midwives around the world have in common, no matter where they work. The charity photographed and interviewed new mothers and their midwives in the hours and days immediately after birth about their experiences – from the UK and Canada, to Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Bangladesh.

To view and download photos please click here.

While midwives in modern hospitals fill birthing pools without a thought and benefit from stringent hygiene protocols, those in many areas of the developing world may start their day with a struggle to find enough water to clean floors and bedlinens, wash their hands and offer labouring women a drink.

Yet, whether new mothers delivered in state-of-the-art hospitals or in healthcare centres without clean water, decent toilets and functioning hand basins, all shared the same joy in their new babies, and great appreciation for the midwives who helped bring those babies into the world.

In Canada, first-time mom Colleen, who gave birth to baby Soraia at home said:

"My midwife's medical background put me at ease. I was confident in her skills and her abilities. But also, her demeanour and the way she talks. She's so gentle with everybody. So compassionate. When it was crunch time, she wasn't soft then."

"I have thought about developing countries. It must be really hard, especially with sanitation. They have to carry clean water. They have to go find clean water. They have to boil the water."

In Malawi, first-time mother Ruth, 19, who gave birth to her baby son in the Ngokwe Health Centre in Machinga, said:

"When I was coming here, I brought with me three 'Chitenje' fabrics of which one is to used to cover the baby, and the other two used during and after giving birth, for cleaning myself. I also brought with me a plastic wrapper used during birth to hold the water and blood… This helps to keep the bed clean, as the ward has only two beds.

"Despite facing these challenges, I was happy to have received the best care from our nurse-midwife. She was very helpful all the time. She would come even to check my and my baby's pulse and temperature."

In 2015, 2,100 newborns died each day from sepsis, tetanus, pneumonia or diarrhoea – all infections strongly linked to unhygienic conditions. WaterAid wants to ensure healthcare facilities everywhere have access to clean water and have adequate toilets and are committed to good hygiene practice and promotion. Yet 38% of health care facilities in developing nations do not have a water supply, 19% do not provide adequate sanitation and 35% do not have soap and water to sustain good hygiene practices.

For more information about our participation at the Congress, please see


WaterAid's vision is of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world's poorest communities. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25 million people with clean water and, since 2004, 24 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidCanada on Twitter.


SOURCE WaterAid Canada

For further information: In Ottawa: Christine LaRocque, Director of Communications, or +1 (613) 230-5182 ext. 243


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