International Day of the Midwife
May 5 is the internationally recognised day for highlighting the work of midwives. ICM established the idea of the 'International Day of the Midwife' following suggestions and discussion among Midwives Associations in the late 1980s, then launched the initiative formally in 1992.
On May 5 each year we ask the world to focus on the role of midwives and midwifery. Each year ICM comes up with a campaign theme to provide motivating call to action for all of us to get involved and champion our work. The International Day of the Midwife is an occasion for every individual midwife to think about the many others in the profession, to make new contacts within and outside midwifery, and to widen the knowledge of what midwives do for the world. In the years leading up to 2015, ICM is using the overarching theme “The World Needs Midwives Today More Than Ever” as part of an ongoing campaign to highlight the need for midwives. This reflects the WHO call for midwives and the need to accelerate progress towards MDGs 4 and 5.
Marking IDM with a Keynote Activity
Each year local midwives, Midwives Associations and supporters of midwifery globally develop their own keynote activities for the International Day of the Midwife to suit their particular circumstances and resources. In 2011 midwives were encouraged to organise a 5km walk leading up to the Walk to Durban at the start of the ICM Triennial Congress in June.
Examples of ways in which midwives can make the day special include:
- Organising a walk, march or run
- Organising a street parade and rally in a public place
- Setting up stalls in a market-place or other popular area to publicise midwifery services and to offer information and advice
- Holding a meeting, workshop or conference to hear about new developments in midwifery and exchange news with other midwives in the region
- Inviting a government minister, NGO representative or a celebrity to speak or open an event
- Arranging a multi-faith service to celebrate midwifery and safe childbirth
- Giving awards to individual or groups of midwives for special pieces of work
- Setting up a competition to design a promotional poster
- Making or commissioning a badge, pin or wristband – or other useful item like a pen or a bag - with a message highlighting the theme, which can be sold or given away
- In countries where midwifery is well established, raising money to help midwives overseas where extra resources are greatly needed (for example buying bicycles for midwives' transport in remote areas, or sponsoring a midwife to attend an important conference).
Some midwives just get together to talk, eat, drink, perhaps sing or dance, and generally have a good time. A ‘Let’s Celebrate’ with friends, colleagues and families.
Midwives are encouraged to let local or national media know about what they’re doing, well in advance, so that publicity can be gained as widely as possible. The International Day of the Midwife is an opportunity for every midwife to think about others in the profession, to make new contacts within and outside midwifery and widen the knowledge of what midwives do for the world!
ICM's Facebook page and other social media channels are great places to share ideas, and post activities.
Read about past celebrations of the International Day of the Midwife in past years
Read about past celebrations of the International Day of the Midwife by selecting from the links below:
IDM 2009: The World Needs Midwives More Than Ever
IDM 2008: Healthy Families – the Key to the Future