Presentation on Strengthening Midwives Associations
On the second day of the LAC Conference in Quito, Ecuador the highlights during the scientific programme were countries sharing their experiences in adopting the Global Standards for midwifery education and the MACAT. Gap analyses have been conducted in the region. Ministries of health have been responsive and work is going on in a number of countries in the region.
In the afternoon ICM Senior Technical Midwifery Advisor Nester T. Moyo presented the results of the Young Midwifery Leaders Programme 2004-2007, sharing the impact it has had on the individual and professional levels and on ICM as an organisation. The YML programme can be viewed as a success as it facilitated growth over a relatively short period of time and midwifery and midwives became visible in the countries involved as mentees went to introduce themselves and the programme to authorities. The participants have been driving change and advocating for midwives and women in their countries. ICM has also learned important lessons and found that the programme was too labour and resource intensive on a small number of midwives. There is a need to maximise resources and find approaches to accomodate big groups. Midwifery and midwives need leaders at all levels NOW globally.
In a second part Nester presented strengthening midwives associations using the MACAT. The MACAT has been in use in over 36 countries during the past three years. The results show that the associations often have gaps in common:
- Leadership and management (visioning, planning)
- Membership and advocacy (unity, identify, member education and benefits)
- Resource mobilsation (technical and material dependency, subscriptions
However, there are also country specific needs. ICM is therefore working with country groups through the Twinning Programme, is using platforms of exchange and dissemination workshops and facilitating regional workshops. For the future development needs to be more regional with regional strategic plans, evidence support hubs through PMNCH and regional resource centers.
These two presentations were well attended and well recieved as sessions had to continue outside the room to answer questions from midwives who had not had an opportunity to ask due to time constraints.
First Day of the Conference:
The LAC Conference started on Wednesday 24th of April on a very high note with a welcoming from ICM President Frances Day-Stirk and other dignitaries. The ICM President presented on the Global Standards and their impact. Her take home message for the midwives was "a hand that gives will also receive." Frances also quoted Nelson Mandela, who had said "Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world". She suggested that we change this powerful quote to read "Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the MNHCH world to achieve the MDGs". Frances urged governments to strive to produce adequate numbers of competence caring cadres of midwives to achieve improvements in maternal and newborn health.
The two Board Members, Frances Ganges and Mirian Solis, presented the work they have done in the region. Key issues, which were recurrent, were: the need for midwives to work together; midwives to have a vision and share it; midwives to enter the political arena in order to influence policies that do not directly relate to health, such as building roads and water provision; and midwives need to always include women in their efforts to improve maternal and newborn health.
There was a lot of enthusiasm. The registration numbers reached 1000 by midday. Chances are there will be more registrants tomorrow. In the evening, the Minister of Health officially opened the conference.