Access: Bridging the Gap to Improving Care for Women and Families
ICM President, Frances Day-Stirk, kicked off the day by welcoming the delegates and inviting them to sign up for the ICMLive daily newsletter. ICM Vice President, Debrah Lewis, provided an update on the decisions from the Council Meeting, held in the days before Congress from 27-30 May. This year, 168 delegates from 83 ICM Member Associations were present at the meeting. She informed the audience that the ICM Council approved a 3rd Board Member from the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, Debrah confirmed that new membership categories were introduced: collective, associate, and affiliate. A new membership fee structure was also discussed. Moreover, Debrah announced that the 32nd ICM Triennial Congress will take place in Bali, Indonesia. Another highlight of the Council Meeting was the discussion of the strategic directions for the next triennium, 2014 – 2017. Debrah finished her presentation with lovely pictures of the group work, dancing, and fun times during the Council social event.
The first plenary speaker was Lisa Kane Low, Associate Professor and Director of Midwifery Education at the University of Michigan. Lisa gave a presentation titled ‘Access: bridging the gap to improving care and outcomes for women and families’. Her presentation was highly inspiring and insightful; Tweets quoting Lisa kept flowing and were projected on one of the screens in the plenary hall. In her speech, Lisa said: ‘We know that access to quality midwifery care is a consistent challenge. Health is more than just access, social conditions and education are important too. Midwives are a critical part of increasing access to care and promoting reproductive health globally. Ensuring every woman has access to a midwife is a way of tackling inequalities in health; they are avoidable’. She stressed the importance of community-based approach to care, as midwives need to be where women live. Midwives are mobile and can meet women, thus building long-term, sustainable relationships. Lisa added that the ‘template of technology is a global challenge. Instead of investing in new technology, we should focus on applying the existing technology to new areas of care’. In her presentation, she also quoted Dr Mahmoud Fathalla, Medical Professor in Cairo: ‘Women are not dying because of diseases we cannot treat. They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving’. Read the full update here.