In the concluding paper of this Series about midwifery, we look at the policy implications from the framework for quality maternal and newborn care, the potential effect of life-saving interventions that fall within the scope of practice of midwives, and the historic sequence of health system changes that made a reduction in maternal mortality possible in countries that have expanded their midwifery workforce. Achievement of better health outcomes for women and newborn infants is possible, but needs improvements in the quality of reproductive, maternal, and newborn care, alongside necessary increases in universal coverage. In this report, we propose three priority research areas and outline how national investment in midwives and in their work environment, education, regulation, and management can improve quality of care. Midwifery and midwives are crucial to the achievement of national and international goals and targets in reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health; now and beyond 2015.
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