February diary: Busy and diverse month!
February was a busy, diverse month that saw me in India, Dubai and the USA as the voice of ICM, the voice of midwives. First stop was Mumbai for the Human Rights in Childbirth India Conference (2-5 February) as Human Rights in Childbirth partnered with the TATA Institute for Social Sciences (TISS) University to host the first of its kind in India and the Asian region. The programme identified the key human rights issues affecting women in pregnancy and childbirth. It was a fantastic collaborative event, organised by Bashi Kumar Hazard, Director HRiC and Professor of Law Dr Asha Bajpai TISS University, that focused on raising awareness and exploring fundamental human rights in maternity care, its impact on outcomes and the place of legal advocacy and grass-roots campaigns.
As a speaker on the Rethinking the role of the midwife panel to launch the ‘Midwives’ Voices Midwives’ realities report, I joined Frances McConville (WHO) , Leila Varkey (WRA) Bandana Das (SoMI president) with ANMs, and Prof Saras Vedam (Univ of British Columbia). I spoke about ICM’s role in gathering the global data from the 2470, Midwives’ realities and how it hinders midwives from providing quality care to women, which in turn affects the women’s human rights in childbirth; why identity is important to midwives; reinforced the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights, by the Civil Society Organisation SAHAYOG, which argues that the application of human rights principles in the prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity is as important as the provision of good maternal health services.
The voices of midwives (local and global), obstetricians, paeditricians, economists, lawyers, women and campaigners coalesced to highlight the important of human rights in maternity services worldwide. It was wonderful to meet former SoMI President, Praksahma, and ANMs who spoke of their realities, Hannah Dhalen, Lesley Page and the many more midwives who attended.
ICM President, Frances Day-Stirk (c) with Bashi Kumar Hazard, Director of Human Rights in Childbirth India (HRiC) and Dr. Saras Vedam.
To utilize the opportunity of being in India, it was off to Delhi to join Shantanu Garg, ICM Midwifery Service Framework (MSF) Project Officer, for a series of meetings between the 7th to 8th of February to introduce the MSF and explore its potential for in India. The meetings, jointly planned with the President of Society of Midwives Association of India (SOMI), were planned with the National Institute of Family Welfare (NIHFW), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, UNFPA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Health Strategies and Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT).
It was also an opportunity to profile SoMI, lobby for a cadre of professional midwives for India with these organisations and to meet with some midwives of the Delhi chapter of SoMI.
Prakashma - founder of Society of Midwives Associaiton of India (SoMI) with members of the New Delhi Chapter of SoMI, ICM President - Frances Day-Stirk (In green blazer) and Shantanu Garg - ICM Project Officer
This was followed by a trip to Dubai to deliver a a keynote address at the Dubai International Nursing and Midwifery Congress where I met several midwives and spent time with Noreen Healy, Head of Midwives Section - Emirates Nursing Association.
At the end of the month it was time to head to Washington DC for the Midwives' Voices, Midwives' Realities report launch and discussions on 27th February; a series of meeting planned by UNFPA with the Wilson Center and organised by WRA. Roger-Mark DeSouza, Director at the Wison Centre welcomed the guests and Mary Ellen Stanton’s (USAID) opening remarks were followed by this video report click HERE to watch it.
ICM President - Frances Day-Stirk with Young Midwifery Leader from Mexico - Samara Ferrara
I joined a panel of presentations by Fran McConville WHO, Samara Ferrara, YML Mexico and Nancy Kamwendo, WRA Malawi and lively discussion moderated by Julia Bluestone, Jhpiego and Frontline Health Worker Coalition. MOre info click HERE.
After a quiet January it was a frenetic, fantastic February.