President of International Confederation of Midwives and PMNCH Board member
Bridget Lynch, a mother of five and a midwife with more than 25 years of experience, delivered her final address as President of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in June 2011 at a conference that saw the release of the first report on the state of midwifery around the world.
Lynch was the first Canadian to head the 92-year-old group, which represents more than 250,000 midwives from autonomous member associations in 94 countries.
During her three-year term, Lynch was a key voice in the struggle to reduce the tragically high death rates of mothers and babies in developing countries during childbirth. Under her leadership midwives have gained recognition as a critical force in helping to reverse the dismal maternal death rate, as they work in communities and can manage low-risk deliveries at lower cost than obstetricians. Lynch has played a pivotal role securing United Nations funding to address the global shortage of skilled birth attendants, including midwives. She also helped pave the way for Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to make global maternal health a priority at the G8 Summit in Muskoka in 2010.
She is currently working to put in place better training and standards for midwives and to improve access to midwives for all women, especially in parts of Asia or Africa, where the UN says as many as one in 22 die in childbirth.