Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM)
PMNCH Session: MNCH human resource gap
MIDWIVES FILLING THE HUMAN RESOURCES GAP FOR BETTER MATERNAL, NEWBORN AND CHILD HEALTH
Dr Carole Presern, Director of the Partnership, moderated a dynamic session on Monday 20 June, during which panellists and audience members discussed the role of midwives in responding to the needs of women and children across the continuum of care.
Panellists shared from their impressive experience, with backgrounds spanning midwifery, design and oversight of midwifery curricula and training and practice, science and research, sexual and reproductive public health.
- Moderator: Dr Carole Presern, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
- Opening speaker: Dr Laura Laski, chief of SRH for UNFPA
- Dr Blerta Maliqi, The Countdown to 2015
- Ms Pashtoon Azfar, Midwife, Afghanistan
- Dr Ugo Okoli, Midwives Service Scheme Coordinator, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Nigeria
- Ms Edna Ismail, Director and Founder, Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, Somaliland Representative of ICM
- Representative of ICM
- Question & Answer from the floor
- Wrap-up: Dr Carole Presern
Quotes of note
Dr Laura Laski, Chief of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit for UN Population Fund (UNFPA), outlined the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and highlighted some of the commitments made by high-burden countries last September 2010, noting the need to follow promises with action.
Dr Blerta Maliqi of the World Health Organization (WHO), represented the Initiative, the Countdown to 2015 for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival. She presented Countdown evidence showing the impact of midwives in improving maternal and newborn health, especially where they are empowered to provide the full scope of practice.
Ms Pashtoon Azfar, a midwife from Afghanistan currently working with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in New Delhi, outlined the incredible work being undertaken under daunting security and cultural challenges to recruit train and deploy midwives in Afghanistan.
Dr Ugo Okoki, charged with the Nigerian Midwives Service Scheme, outlined the success in her country of the “cluster approach” --a hub and spoke model, where general hospitals support and are supported by community health clinics, which are each staffed by four midwives.
Ms Edna Adan Ismail founded and runs a maternity hospital in Somaliland, using her own pension from the WHO. Ms. Ismail, a midwife who maintained her practice while being First Lady of Somalia and later Foreign Minister of Somaliland, described her approach to training midwives and community midwives. Since the hospital was founded, almost 11,000 women have been treated and delivered, reducing the rate of maternal mortality in her service area to 25% of the country average.
Ms Nester Moyo, representative for the ICM, addressed the next steps for the organization to take forward the energy and momentum from Durban, and the need to convince policy makers of the benefits of investing in midwives.
Several questions from the floor focussed on the Countdown's evidence and information gathering, approaches to training community midwives, and the need to ensure high-quality education for midwives and their trainers/educators.
PMNCH Director, Dr Presern closed by noting the need to ensure midwives are well-supported amongst a well-functioning team of health workers which includes nurses, paediatricians, Obstetrician/Gynaecologists and others.