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Back 5 May 2014

Celebrations of the International Day of the Midwife 2014

Midwives associations all over the world organized events on and around May 5th to raise awareness and celebrate midwives and midwifery. Below are short summaries of events in different countries in no particular order:

In Malta, the midwives association (MMA) planned a full week of activities to celebrate the International Day of the Midwife. Activities included courses on parenting skills, seminar, open day for the general public to promote midwifery, reunion for all parents attending the antenatal education sessions by the MMA, mass, family picnic, and cake decorating competition.

In Ireland, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) held a Midwives Week to mark the recognition of midwifery as a separate profession from 28th April to 2nd May 2014. The theme for the week was 'Promoting Safe Care for Mother and Baby'. Activities included midwifery students’ debate, presentation, conference, and consultation with stakeholders on the requirements and standards for midwifery education registration programmes.

In Comoros, midwives organized an advocacy activity with political authorities, participated in radio/television programmes, published articles on the occassion of IDM, held debates on the role of midwives, as well as an official ceremony on May 5th.

In North America, the Midwives Alliance North America (MANA) are hosting a story contest titled 'How Has A Midwife Impacted Your Life?'. The winning story will earn a one year membership to MANA for the winner's midwife and a celebrate t-shirt for the winner. In Philadelphia, midwives had a walk in support of IDM.

In Canada, the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) invited all of their members and supporters to participate in a fun singing activity to promote midwifery in Canada, in anticipation of 'Voices of Midwives' in Prague. The association encouraged everyone to sing the 'Midwives' Song', with lyrics written by a midwife in Toronto to the tune of 'Amazing Grace'. Also have a look at the press release from CAM here. In Alberta, the MaternityCare Consumers of Alberta Network issued a statement recognizing midwives' work and the care they provide in the communities. In the province British Columbia the government proclaimed May 5th to be the official British Columbia Midwives' Day. 

The 'Midwives Song' was not only promoted in Canada but also in Switzerland and in Central Texas, see their video recording here.

In Vietnam, the midwives association travelled to very remote and poor villages to provide reproductive health services for 2,000 poor women.

In New Zealand, midwives joined the celebrations with events throughout the country, inviting colleagues and supporters to join them in recognising the far-reaching value of good maternity care. They also had a song written "Ode to the Surge" which they performed together with a flautist. Watch the video here

In England, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) celebrated IDM 2014 by hosting a Global Midwifery Twinning Project (GMTP) conference on May 7 at The Brunei School of Oriental and African Studies in London. This one day conference shared experience from the RCM GMTP members have been involved in. It reflected on lessons learned, the challenges for global maternal and infant health, and the benefits that twinning midwifery associations bring.

In Scotland, the students at Robert Gordon University Aberdeen held a free one day conference on Monday 5th May.

In Wales, the National Assembly for Wales held a networking event in celebration of international midwifery on Tuesday 6th May at the Senedd in Cardiff.

In Northern Ireland, the students at Queen’s University Belfast are holding an evening reception to celebrate midwifery on Thursday 8th May.

In Australia, the Nursing and Midwifery Board issued a statement to recognize the important contribution midwives in Australia make to health and well being of women, their families and the community more broadly. The National Board funded a number of projects that address aspects of midwifery regulation including: supervision of midwives, safety and quality framework for midwives, and review of the midwifery standards for practice. In Darwin, midwives celebrated their profession by organizing a dinner, film screening, and donating money to help those affected by the typhoon in the Philippines.

In Peru, Colegio de Obstetrices del Peru issued a statement in support of IDM.

In Indonesia, midwives celebrated the International Day of the Midwife by organizing a soft skills management training, due to community and stakeholder demands. This training prepared Indonesian midwives for work in their communities, and provided them with skills needed to change the world, one family at a time. See this video on YouTube. The students from Yogyakarta Midwifery Academy celebrated IDM with dances and on stage performances.

In the DRC, midwives gathered in South Kivu to discuss midwifery and how to revitalize their association based on the three pillars of the profession. 

In Madagascar, midwives and nurses from the 7 hospitals of the capital organized a meeting to dicuss topics related to infection prevention and control. 

In Iran, midwives celebrated IDM by organizing a meeting of over 2000 participants. Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, met Monday noon with the officials of the Society of Midwifery. In his speech he described the role of this group as very important and valuable in preserving the human species. Read the full summary here. The Minister of Health also attended the celebration and gave a speech supporting the work of midwives. 

In Rwanda, the midwives association, supported by UNFPA organized a walk in support of IDM with posters as well as T-shirts with the IDM logo.

In Tanzania, midwives organized numerous activities during a whole week, including a scientific conference for midwives, and free maternal and child health services for the public. The First Lady of Tanzania, Mama Salma Kikwete, attended the IDM celebration and emphasized the need for more midwives available countrywide. 

In Nepal, midwifery studies will begin for the first time from the upcoming academic year. A three-year diploma course is being prepared by the Ministry of Health and Population with support from UNFPA. This information was shared at a function organised by the Ministry and the Midwifery Society of Nepal to mark the International Day of the Midwife. 

In Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Midwives Association invited more than 200 midwives across the country and dozens of key stakeholders including government partners, international supporters such as UNFPA, USAID, UN agencies and many others to reinforce the national and international commitment to reducing maternal and child mortality and improving the health status of women and their families by strengthening the role of midwives in Afghanistan. The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Suraya Dalil, acknowledged midwives contribution improving the lives of women and children through their inspiring work and commitment.

In the Netherlands, midwives will be running either 5 or 10 km for midwives4mothers on the 18th of May. The midwife that collects the most sponsor money will receive a small statue, which will then be passed on to the next winner on IDM 2015. 

In Spain, midwives organized a meetup which included talks about the role of midwives in reducing caesarean sections, working in private enterprises and natural contraception. 

In Pakistan, the Midwifery Association (MAP) organized a three-day conference in collaboration with USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Program along with UNFPA, IPAS and the Sindh government’s Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Program. The conference was attended by over 300 midwives, and highlighted the maternal and newborn health challenges across Pakistan. It brought together leaders from hospitals and academic institutions across Pakistan: to emphasise the importance of midwives in the community; review the latest global evidence on midwifery care; and build leadership skills among midwives.

In Liberia, an event was organized in Monrovia on May 5th. During the event, Professor Angela Sawyer said midwives need to ensure that their relations and interactions with patients, especially pregnant women are improved. She stated that despite difficulties and other challenges being faced in various sectors of the country, statistics have shown some minimum level of improvement.

In the Cayman Islands, the Health Services Authority (HSA) celebrated International Day of the Midwife on May 5th, and several midwives from the HSA were available to explain their role. The day aimed to bring recognition to the role of midwives, when it comes to the safe practice of natural childbirth and assistance to women and their families before and after birth.

In Sierra Leone, midwives joined the world on May 5th to celebrate IDM. The Chief Nursing Officer stated that the country needs 35,000 midwives in the health sector to aid child birth and maternal care in the country. She made this statement at a ceremony at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) on Fourah Bay Road in Freetown, to mark the International Day of the Midwife. Madam Husianatu Kanu said the day is set aside in recognition of the significant role midwives are playing to save the lives of the world’s women and their babies.

In the Republic of Macedonia, the association celebrated the week of nurses and midwives by organizing various events at the local and national levels, to raise awareness about both professions. They discussed the most important and current issues in nursing and midwifery on their national TV, and additionally nurses and midwives appeared on local TV stations.

In South Sudan, midwives and nurses celebrated IDM and IND, and brought the city (Juba) to a stand still. Marching down a stretch of 10 kilometres all in white, students and qualified staff were led by the police band - happy and cheering to sensitize the public. Nurses and midwives in Juba were the first professional group to do a successful walk this year in the country ever since the war broke out in December 2013.

Through our healing hands we made the public join us in realizing the need of frontcare health workers.

Check out our Facebook album with photos of IDM celebrations all over the world. Also make sure you have a look at our Storify, showing highlights of the #IDM2014 ICM Twitter chat on the International Day of the Midwife. 

Thank you everyone for your support. Your voice is important to us!  

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