The term 'skilled attendant' refers exclusively to people with midwifery skills - like Doctors, Midwives, Nurses and Traditional Birth Attendants. They are people who have been trained to manage normal deliveries and diagnose, manage or refer obstetric complications. Midwives and Others with Midwifery Skills (MOMS) need to be linked with larger health care systems to make this happen.
Pregnancy is often a key entry point into the health care system and MOMS can provide a welcoming gateway.
Midwives and Traditional Birth Attendants are overwhelmingly women and typically endure low status, poor pay and lack of support despite an enormous responsibility. They often receive the least respect and support from the health system.
When they are properly trained, empowered and supported, MOMS in the community offer the most cost-effective and high quality path to universal access to maternal health care.
Most maternal deaths are likely caused by pregnancy related complications like unsafe abortions, severe bleeding, infection, hypertensive disorders and obstructed labour.
In developed countries, like Canada, the risks of dying from these complications is 1 in 4,700.
In developing countries like Kenya, the risk is 1 in 31.