ICM Enabling Environment Policy Brief (2021)
This policy brief released by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in 2021 and developed with support from Ariadne Labs defines the enabling environment for midwives as one that supports the infrastructure, profession, and system-level integration needed for midwives to effectively practise their full scope of work. This brief also identifies the necessary policies to enhance the enabling environment for scaling midwife-led care.
Midwives do much more than support women to birth babies. They deliver accessible, equitable, and high-quality sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health (SRMNAH) care in diverse settings across the globe, across the childbirth continuum, and across sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). According to the World Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund, and other global authorities, there is an urgent need for SRMNAH care to be delivered by professional midwives who have expertise that is not currently supported in most health systems. Midwives are a cost-effective, critical solution to improve health outcomes and experiences for women and newborns, reduce health inequities in access and quality, and provide the continuum of SRMNAH care. Yet, the majority of countries across the globe encounter barriers in developing and sustaining the enabling environment required to scale midwife-led continuity of care.