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Loveluck Mwasha, a midwife and lecturer at The Aga Khan University (AKU) School of Nursing and Midwifery – Tanzania has received the coveted Midwife for Life Award 2017.

Amina Sultani of Afghanistan also received a similar Award presented by Save the Children, and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) at the ICM 31st Triennial Congress in Toronto, Canada.

The midwives have been awarded for their outstanding roles in developing the profession in their countries despite all odds. ICM President Frances Day-Stirk and Save the Children President and Chief Executive Officer Patricia Erb jointly presented the awards.

Mwasha who has practiced midwifery for 30 years is a staunch advocate for the midwifery profession, midwives’ improved working conditions and improved health for mothers and new-borns in Tanzania.

She has also been a “steadfast advocate for and mentor” to midwives through her work on the board of the Tanzania Nursing and Midwifery Council and at The Aga Khan Hospital and AKU School of Nursing and Midwifery.

“My work is an opportunity to advocate for better support and training of midwives,” Mwasha said. “We work with stakeholders to help them appreciate midwives’ role in supporting women’s reproductive health, from community groups to members of parliament.”

In Tanzania, 257 women and their babies die due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth which means 93,800 deaths each year, 70 percent or more of which are preventable with proven and effective interventions.

Midwives are seen as the single most important cadre for preventing maternal and new-born deaths and stillbirths.

Especially in humanitarian contexts and for poor or hard-to-reach populations, midwives provide the majority of immediate care to mothers and new-borns, often without support, materials, training, or recognition.