After receiving information from ICM on the planned State of the World’s Midwifery Report 2014 (SOWMy), the President of the Togo Midwives Association, Héloise Adandogou-dAlmeida acted promptly and contacted the local UNFPA office to obtain information on planned activities. As a result of this conversation, the midwives association of Togo became the in-country coordinator for the data collection process.
Within only a few days the midwives association organized the first introductory meeting for the data collection, which took place on 5th December 2013. Participants came from the midwives association of Togo, the Ministry of Health, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO as well as journalists, parliamentarians and the community. A week later a second workshop was organized in order to review all the collected data and validate it. The midwives association of Togo invited all participants to the last and final meeting on January 22nd 2014 with the goal to discuss the data. “It was a lot of work, but we are so proud of our work”, says Héloise.
The collected data proved what the midwives in Togo have known all along: that there is a shortage of midwives. This shortage is not due to a lack of education or training but due to lack of recruitment. The issue of human resources was a hot topic during the last meeting and many participants strongly suggested using the available midwives. “With the support from UNFPA and WHO we were able to bring our point across with the Ministry of Health”, Héloise says. The meetings and discussions have not only brought results in the form of data, but have also helped to strengthen relationships between the midwives association, Ministry of Health, UNFPA and WHO.
“I am sure the midwives association of Togo in its role as coordinator has gained more recognition from different stakeholders” says Héloise. She is convinced that the SOWMy process has helped to make the voices of midwives heard and listened to in Togo. The midwives within the association itself have also realized that they have the responsibility to keep raising awareness for the valuable work midwives do.
The example of the Togo midwives association shows how midwives can take ownership of and influence in processes in their countries. It is an inspiring example that could serve as role model for other midwives associations around the world.