From the best to the worst: a quick look to the future of midwifery in Iran

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It may not be widely known, but until very recently Iran provided one of the best health care systems for mothers-to-be, and family planning programmes, in the world. This was in part due to the employment of over 50,000 trained and highly-skilled midwives (Vahidnia 2007)

Every year around 1,300,000 children are born in the country and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), Iran had become a leader and model for other countries in such areas as health programmes and family planning (Bahrami 2014,Statistical Center of Iran 2014).

However, nothing is ever constant and changes are occurring in Iran. Even though the birth rate remains high, there are a rising number of out-of-work midwives. In theory, each midwife should be supporting at least 30 women during childbirth per year, but in reality only 30,000 of them are working in public or private centres (IRNA 2014). Many reasons are cited for the falling number of employed midwives, including the excessive rise in the caesarean section rate — for others the reasons go much deeper.

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