A beautiful series of photos is celebrating the work of midwives around the world.
The global nonprofit WaterAid captured new mothers and midwives in the earliest postpartum hours and days in the U.K., Malawi, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Canada and Tanzania. From their medical care to their emotional support to their guidance in caring for newborns, these midwives show how much they share in common with each other, regardless of where they work.
“Whether a mother gives birth in a state-of-the-art hospital or a rural clinic without access to clean water, all births share the same joy and an appreciation for the help of midwives,” Lisa Schechtman, U.S. Director of Policy and Advocacy at WaterAid, told HuffPost.
Titled “My Midwife,” the series is part of WaterAid’s Healthy Start campaign, which focuses on improving the health and nutrition of newborn babies and children by ensuring healthcare facilities have access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
“Far too many midwives around the world lack the most basic means to keep patients safe,” Schechtman explained. “It is estimated that one in five babies who die in their first month in low- and middle-income countries could have survived if they had been washed in clean water and cared for in a clean environment by people who had washed their hands.”
She noted that in 2013, four babies died every five minutes in sub-Saharan Africa or southern Asia from preventable infections ― such as sepsis, meningitis or tetanus ― linked to unhygienic conditions.
“We advocate that access to water, sanitation, and hygiene should be integrated into health policy and delivery locally, nationally and internationally,” Schechtman explained. “It is our hope that these photos shine a light on the need for improved access to these services to ensure that the next generation of children is given the best start in life ― a healthy start.”
The photo series focuses on midwives because they “intimately understand how important water, sanitation and hygiene are for healthy mothers and healthy babies,” she added.
Keep scrolling for more photos of midwives and new mothers around the world and visit WaterAid’s website for more information about the Healthy Start campaign.