Midwifery Education Conference
A conference addressing the challenges and opportunities of midwifery education, organized in EMRO supported by UNFPA and the MoH of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is being held from 1 to 2 April in Riyadh. Midwives and various experts from 17 Arab States, including Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, KSA, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman Sultanate, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, are among the 84 delegates attending. The aim is to prioritize and develop regional strategies and actions necessary to strengthen midwifery education, as one of the pillars of the ICM global framework for Midwifery Development.
The first such conference took place in November 2012, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a situational analysis and the setting of regional strategic goals and interventions to strengthen midwifery and the work of midwives in the region. 14 regional strategic goals and 34 strategic interventions to enhance and upscale midwifery in the Arab region were developed and the Dubai Declaration (2012) generated to call on the Governments, donors and fellow midwives to commit to strengthening and scaling up of the midwifery profession in their respective countries.
The April 2014 conference sustains the momentum created in Dubai and will explore the different components of Midwifery Education including successful experiences and lessons learned in the Arab Region as well as identify gaps and the effective supportive approaches to upscale midwifery education programmes and strategies within the region.
ICM President, Frances Day-Stirk, gave a keynote address at the conference, titled 'Solidarity in strengthening midwives and midwifery'. She started her presentation with an outline of ICM's history, development, and current role in strengthening midwives and midwifery through solidarity. Despite growing evidence about midwives' contribution in reducing the levels of maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, many countries still have to embrace the concept of a professional midwife – educated, regulated, and able to practice within the full scope of midwifery. Frances reminded the audience about the importance of the ICM Global Standards, Competencies and Tools to support governments and policymakers, and ICM's Three Pillars to achieve education. ICM President also expressed concern about the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as universal health coverage should be one of the primary goals. In order for this to happen sufficient numbers of qualified midwives should be recruited, educated, retained, and investment secured. No woman should die giving life.
On day 2, Frances Day-Stirk gave a presentation titled 'The Midwife: A professional identity in need to be clarified in the Arab region'. In her presentation, Frances emphasized the need to clarify the profile of midwives at regional and country level. Midwives should be 'branded' in a way that conveys a clear and coherent picture, has a clear concept and visibility, recognized by governments and civil society. In her final presentation 'Midwifery educators: an essential resource', Frances Day-Stirk highlighted the need for competent educators to train midwives: educationalists or master teachers to prepare teachers to teach.
ICM President at the MENA conference