More than 10,000 people have signed a petition launched a week ago, calling for better support and funding for community midwives. The 10k figure was reached after the first four days.
Chief executive of the College of Midwives, Alison Eddy, said last week, “After broken promises and more than four years of negotiating with the Ministry of Health, the country’s midwives have had enough.”
Ms Eddy says she and midwives from around the country are thrilled with the response so far and are confident the support will continue.
“We know that midwives are appreciated by so many around Aotearoa. What we need to do is ask people to help our voices to be heard because after 4 years of little progress with government, we are not so sure politicians and bureaucrats understand what we do and how important our work is,” she says.
Eddy says midwives are in people’s homes, helping at the forefront of community care; identifying other issues including housing problems, other family members needing support, immunisation, violence and substance abuse – to name but a few.
“Midwives and the continuity of care we provide reaches into so many more areas other than maternity,” she says. “With this government’s focus on the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life, you’d think the value of our work and the difference it can make to those first 1000 days, would be understood and properly supported. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.”
Eddy says New Zealand’s midwifery-led maternity model is what other countries around the world are aspiring to develop, and it works very well when it’s resourced appropriately.
“Unfortunately, that still appears to be something the Government is struggling to acknowledge and action, and we really urge them to get on with it. We encourage New Zealanders to support us and in doing so, they will be supporting women and whānau everywhere.”
The petition will be presented next year and is live until March 1st (NZ Children’s Day).