Midwives are routinely "overlooked and ignored" despite saving millions of lives a year, the United Nations said on Wednesday, urging the world to hire more women and safeguard new life.

In a joint report compiled with medics, the UN said urgent investment was needed to plug a global shortfall of some 900,000 midwives, with the added benefit of boosting jobs for women.

Two in every three deaths in childbirth could be prevented by 2035 if the world starts recruiting and training now, the UN said in its "State of World's Midwifery 2021" report.

"Midwives are continually overlooked and ignored," said Franka Cadee, president of the International Confederation of Midwives, which co-authored Wednesday's report with the World Health Organization and the United Nations agency UNFPA.

"It's time for governments to acknowledge the evidence surrounding the life-promoting, life-saving impact of midwife-led care," Cadee said in a statement.

Read the full article about the global shortfall of midwives by Sonia Elks at Global Citizen.