By: 11 May 2020
New WHO tool helps countries plan for a strengthened midwifery workforce

The World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) has published a new tool to help countries develop an educated and skilled midwifery workforce.

The Midwifery Assessment Tool for Education (MATE) was designed with the WHO Collaborating Centre for Midwifery Development at the School of Healthcare Sciences in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University in the UK. The release of MATE coincided with the International Day of the Midwife on 5 May.

MATE is designed to be used at the early stages of planning to identify the status, needs and future direction of a country’s midwifery education. It is divided into sections addressing:

  • The provision of maternity care;
  • Initial preparation of midwives;
  • Access to programmes;
  • Curriculum (general, theoretical and practical);
  • Academic faculty;
  • Resources;
  • Clinical learning; and
  • Regulation of education.

The tool also provides links to useful resources that can inform and support the next steps in developing and strengthening midwifery education.

Co-author of the tool, Billie Hunter, Professor of Midwifery at Cardiff University and Director of the Centre for Midwifery Development, said: “Every woman in the world should have access to a skilled midwife, and for that to happen we have to make planned investments into midwifery education.”

Gabrielle Jacob, Head of the Health Workforce Programme at WHO/Europe, added: “It is our hope that the assessment tool strengthens policymakers’ understanding of the importance for midwives to take a lead role in providing skilled and knowledgeable care for childbearing women, newborns and families from the pre-pregnancy stage through to the early weeks of a child’s life.”