"To be the voice of families, midwives need good leadership - ICM President
In early October midwives from nine francophone countries gathered in Guinea Conakry for a Leadership programme, part of ICM/UNFPA’s ‘Strengthening Midwifery in French Speaking Africa’ project. The project aims to build capacity within the sub-region through activities that lead to creation of a critical mass of leaders and resource persons in midwifery, as well as other developments. Facilitated by four ICM staff, one ICM consultant, I thoroughly enjoyed participating, being interviewed and sharing my leadership journey with staff and participants. Above all was presenting the ICM’s global leadership role, activities, partners and whilst urging a ‘one voice approach’ within the sub-region.
ICM President Frances Day-Stirk (centre) with the Guinea Conakry Midwives Associaition, Adama Conde (left) and an official from the Ministry of Health.
ICM President Frances Day-Stirk with Nester Moyo - ICM Senior Advisor
Trinidad & Tobago
Later in October I attended and was a speaker at the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Midwives (TTAM) annual conference. The theme of the conference was “Midwives: A Voice for families”.
The conference was opened by TTAM President Arlene James-Ewin, who welcomed participants and Marcia Rollock, President of the Caribbean Region Midwives Association, brought greeting from her region.
A light memont with the ICM President, Frances Day-Stirk (c), Eureka Griffith - Principal of the School of Midwifery (l) and Betty-Ann Pilgrim
Opening remarks were made by Honourable Minister of Health in Trinidad and Tobago, Terrance Deyalsingh. The Minister gave an honest assessment of the double digit maternal mortality rate, which has increased from 46/100,000 in 2010 to 63/100,000 in 2014; the newborn mortality rate 13.2/1000 live births.
The Minister stated that the figures were unacceptable and committed to achieving single digit figure by 2030. “I am committed to be the voice for midwives in Trinidad and Tobago,” the Minister affirmed.
In my plenary speech, I emphasized the unique role of midwives as partners with women to promote self-care and the health of mothers, infants and families. To be the voice of families, midwives need good leadership – association, employers; midwives must be accountable - be aware of, use and share evidence to influence and shape policy and above all – they must have a place at the decision making table.
ICM President, Frances Day-Stirk giving her pleanry speech during the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Midwives annual conference
During the session, I also showed the WRA film on respectful care and highlighted the WHO guidelines on companions during labor.
The TTAM is a very active association, working closely with PAHO, UNFPA, the Trinidad and Tobago Nursing Council and the University of the West Indies, lobbying for improvement in midwifery education, regulation and service provision.
A pre-conference workshop was organised by 4 UK-based Caribbean diaspora midwives who want to ‘give back’ to countries of their origin. They facilitated workshops on Post-Partum Hemorrhage, shoulder dystocia and other life-saving topics.
It was a huge delight to meet midwives that I had worked with in London and even more unexpectedly, a colleague from my student nurse days over 40 years ago in North Devon. It was indeed a wonderful surprise and a very informative conference.
Trinidad and Tobago Associaition of Midwives in a group photo with ICM President, Frances Day-Stirk (1st Left)