From Jamaica to Indonesia - January 2016
2016 saw the dawn of the Sustainable Development Goals which replace the Millennium Development Goals. The New Year also found me in my home country of Jamaica having spent Christmas with 4 generations of my family.
It was also my delight and pleasure to deliver a public lecture organised by Mrs Cynthia Pitter Chair, UWISON, Mrs. Iris Vassell-Murray former President of the Jamaica Midwives Association, its current President Mrs. Aseta Edwards-Hamilton under the auspices of The University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences, The UWI School of Nursing Mona in association with The Jamaica Midwives’ Association.
The idea for this lecture emerged last July, when we met at the 5th ICM Regional Americas Conference in Suriname with ICM Board Member Irene deLa Torre and former ICM Vice-President Debrah Lewis. It was an absolute delight to have been invited to deliver this lecture ‘back home’ in Jamaica. Challenges remain for midwives and the JMA yet I was pleased to meet with midwives, pupil midwives, service managers, educators and government officials to learn of the progress being made with developing midwifery education programmes, based on the ICM global standards, and across the Caribbean.
I highlighted the upcoming ICM Congress in Toronto and encouraged them to submit abstracts and begin fund raising to ensure attendance.
International Family Planning Conference (IFPC) (Bali – 22-28 January)
You might recall that I was due to travel directly from Montreal to Bali to attend the above conference in November but due volcanic ash the Bali airport was closed. Incredibly the conference was rescheduled to January and I headed there to represent the ICM. This was made possible through the generosity of the USAID PAC (Post Abortion Care) Working Group which extended the invitation and provided the financial support.
The IFPC was co-hosted by the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia (BkkbN) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health. Approximately 4,000 participants attended conference.
Along with the President of FIGO I participated in a round table discussion at the PAC Connection meeting, where among other items one area of interest by donors was the way ICM has used the Joint Consensus Statement on Postabortion Family Planning.
It was the first conference I had attended where I saw very few people that I knew and soon realised the distance between the Family Planning community and between Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health communities who move in separate circles. There were a very few midwives Ms Corazon Paras, President and Patricia Gomez, Executive Director of the Integrated Midwives' Association of the Philippines and former Board Member Miriam Fall (Senegal) and a panel on midwifery.
The Indonesian Midwives Association was well represented by its President, Dr Emi Nurjasmi and almost 34 members of its Provincial Board. Midwives in Indonesia are the backbone of the family planning providing approximately 80% of the family planning services. Director of the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN) told me…“No midwives, no family planning”.
It was a pleasure to meet with the enthusiastic hosts of the 32nd ICM Triennial Congress which will be held at the beautiful Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center.
I was also able to spend time with Carolyn Curtis, PAC USAID and meet Ellen Starbird, the Director of the Office of Population and Reproductive Health (USIAD). This conference, held every two years, is a must for midwives to promote integration, as family planning is integral to our role.
5th Feb, 2016