Every single death in the service of others is one death too many.
For midwife Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, who was killed today at the age of 25 after being kidnapped by Boko Haram six months ago, the injustice is compounded even more so by her selflessness, her compassion and her youth. We hereby call on her captors to release her colleagues, Hauwa Mohammed Liman and Alice Loksha.
Like many midwives, Saifura, who worked for the Red Cross, had the robust heart of a humanitarian. And as we mourn her today, we will not become consumed by hatred and fear – the very principles that run counter to her work and her character.
The great risk midwives take in the service of others is one that is well known to us. Midwives are a workforce predominantly comprised of women who, through their practise, represent the great power of women’s bodies as they bring life into the world. No wonder midwives - midwives like brave, brilliant Saifura - can feel confrontational to others. There is strength in our knowledge, and in our understanding of women's bodies. We believe the sacredness of childbirth. We believe in the future.
It is not only in this situation in Nigeria that midwives are marginalised as professionals and as individuals. As we mourn Saifura, we must not reduce her to one single death; one midwife. Saifura is every midwife. She is every life brought safely into the world and every mother that holds her newborn in her arms. She is also every woman who pursued education; every woman who found her vocation and who has a voice. She is all of us.
And so we are bold and unified as we call on policy-makers to protect women, to protect girls, to protect the midwives who serve them. We advocate for everyone to respect the world's midwives – in policy, in the workplaces and at home – and we remain uncompromising in our love of midwifery.
We must champion the name of Saifura Hussaini Ahmed Khorsa, and every midwife she represents. Because saving lives and improving lives is what midwives do.
We listen, we grieve, we let go and we grow.
- Franka Cadée, President of the International Confederation of Midwives
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