Addressing Critical Knowledge Gaps in Newborn Health

Excellence in Midwifery: 2014 International Midwife Award

Excellence in Midwifery: 


2014 International Midwife Award

Sponsored by the International Confederation of Midwives and Save the Children
Presented at the 30th ICM Congress
Prague | June 1-5, 2014

Every day nearly 8,000 newborns and 800 mothers die from causes related to pregnancy, childbirth and complications during the first month of life. In addition, more than 7,300 babies are stillborn every day – a death just when a parent expects to welcome a new life. Nearly all of these deaths take place in poor countries, and most can be prevented.

Midwives and others with midwifery skills are the single most important cadre for preventing maternal, neonatal deaths and stillbirths, but the number of midwives falls far short of the need. There is a global critical shortage of 3.5 million health workers, including 350,000 midwives, without whom millions of women and newborns are at risk. Moreover, their services are unequally distributed - among and within countries.

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) together with Save the Children would like to recognize and reward two midwives who are champions for newborn survival, often against all odds. The 2014 ICM Congress, hosted by ICM and the Czech Confederation of Midwives, provides a good platform to honor excellence in midwifery in high-burden countries. The Congress in Prague will highlight challenges facing midwifery and the work necessary to ensure high quality women-centered midwifery care in Eastern Europe and other regions of the world.

Award Objectives:

The awards seek to recognize midwives who specialize in maternal and newborn care in low-resource settings, where the majority of deaths occur. They offer an opportunity to bring international attention to the achievements of midwives and the urgent need for more health workers. Winners will be identified and supported as new champions for maternal and newborn health, and encouraged to leverage the international attention gathered during the congress to spur country-level action.

Meet Past Winners:






Sadya Naeemi from Afghanistan and Catherine Ojo from Nigeria were honoured at the ICM Congress in Durban, South Africa in 2011. Both midwives returned to their countries as champions for mothers and newborns, involved in efforts to advance health policies, professional training programs and progress at their facilities. 

In 2008, The Princess Royal concluded her speech at the ICM Congress in Glasgow by presenting the ICM and Save the Children awards to midwives Histaphi Kenkeyani of Malawi and Phoebe Lolly Mashao of South Africa (pictured left). Midwife Kiros Kebede from Ethiopia was honored in 2005.



Blogs from the midwives:

The 2014 awards are sponsored by Save the Children and ICM, and given on behalf of EveryOne, Save the Children’s global campaign to save children’s lives, and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program (SNL), supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is the fourth occasion of this International Award.