Back 5 May 2013

Celebrations of the International Day of the Midwife

Midwives associations all over the world have organized events on and around May 5th to speak out and step up for the world to realize the crucial work midwives do.

In Croatia, midwives across the country celebrated International Day of the Midwife in public squares and parks, educating the public about midwifery. All midwives who were working that day were wearing badges with the key messages in order to raise awareness and gather support. Midwives also actively sought the company of other people and responded to questions and provided useful tips and information. 

In Belgium, the midwives association subtitled the DVD "Midwives work" with Dutch subtitles, which was launched on IDM. Furthermore, they organized a two-day conference with keynote speakers and workshops and they baked bread in a bag, added the midwifery messages and distributed them in the bakeries. 

In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Midwives Association organized a conference and launched the State of Ethiopias Midwivifery report (read more on the blog). The International Day of Midwives Conference also witnessed presentations on the role of midwives in family planning and the importance of professional ethics in midwifery, as well as original research findings on a variety of maternal, newborn and child health topics. 

In the United Kingdom, midwives came together to bake cakes, have a cake competition and sell cakes to raise money. The midwives of the Crowborough Birthing Centre donated their time and raised money to ICM's Safe Motherhood Fund. The Safe Motherhood and Development Fund is a standing fund used to support individual midwives or Midwifery Associations in resource-poor countries where maternal mortality and morbidity rates are high. Monies are used to involve midwives in ICM activities and events that promote safe motherhood.

In Germany, the International Delegate of the German Midwives Association participated in an MDG 5-panel discussion in Berlin. Ute Wronn, the International Delegate talked about ICMs committment in implementing education and regulation standards and tools in developing countries. All panel participants agreed that the German commitment in reducing maternal and newborn mortality must proceed beyond 2015 (Post MDG process). The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), expressed it's interest to cooperate with ICM on reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. A follow-up meeting is being set-up during Women Deliver in Kuala Lumpur.  

In India, a special celebration was held at the Amrita College of Nursing in the State of Kerala. It was the first time, that IDM was celebrated in public in Kerala, as there are very few practicing midwives. However, the faculty of Obstetric & Gynecologic Nursing at AMRITA felt the need to promote midwifery practice. Posters on IDM were displayed in and around hospital premises. The changing trends in the childbirth practices including the role assumed by the midwives in Kerala was presented as ‘ottan thullal’, a traditional art form of narrating stories on social issues with an essence of humor. The presentation humorously enacted the past, present and the new generation of midwifery care. Overall the celebration created a positive image of midwifery among the students. Many of them expressed their desire to become practicing midwives and to help women. All of them said together “the world needs midwives now more than ever”. The plan for next year is to organize IDM celebration at the state level.

In Afghanistan the midwives association (AMA) organized their 9th national congress and mother's night at the Ministery of Public Health. On this special occasion, the Minister of Public Health said, "I want to see midwives as ministers, deputy ministers, directors, parliamentarians and any position they deserve in Afghanistan". This event had a big impact on the higher level with politicians, parlamentarians, and the Ministry of Women Affairs, who wants now to partner with the AMA and offered to co-host mother's night next year. 

In Nepal the midwives associations organized an event with dignitaries from the Ministry of Health and Population , UNFPA, WHO, UNICEF country representatives, Family Health Division, Regulatory body , Professional Associations, Invitees and Members. Papers were presented, message from WHO, SEARO were shared including stories of Midwives and an open discussion took place between the participants and the government about midwives education, deployment and a protected title for senior nurses who are working as a midwives.

In Guyana, the newest ICM member, midwives of the association were presented with an annual recognition award. At least one midwife from each region was honoured in a tangible way on this significant observance day. As a matter of fact, some regions have seen it fit to honor more than one midwives (Region 2, 3, 4 (East Coast and Central Georgetown), 7, 8). The Chair person Maria Francois said: "I trust that we can continue to invest in midwives – as a key human resource strategy in meeting our MDG target 4, 5 and 6".

In Sierra Leone, the IDM was hosted in Kabala with a series of events to honor the crucial work of midwives. The SLMA president Hannah Shepherd gave a talk on TV. On May third panel discussions and a radio talk took place as well as sensitization talks by Midwives to community members, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers during tours of the hospitals, maternity clinics and the city of Kabala.

In Pakistan, celebration of IMD took place in the Aga Khan University and at the provincial government level with Midwifery Association of Pakistan!! It was also an opportunity for midwives to reunite with their colleagues from all over the country.

In Canada, midwives associations held regional events with film screenings and other events. The national association CAM called on all Canadians to support midwives and midwifery and asked the citizens to sign a letter to their politicians. On this important day for midwives across the world, CAM and NACM are voicing concerns about a recent UNICEF report (April 2013) that found that Canada ranked 22nd out of 29 developed countries for infant mortality rates, with higher rates among Aboriginal communities.

In Indonesia, the midwives associations organized a big march through the pedestrian zone of the capital, Jakarta. As IDM was a Sunday, there were many people there to see the midwives march. 

In Brazil, the Midwives Association of Brazil – Associação de Obstetrizes -, the Movement of Midwives (Obs em movimento) and USP’s Academic Center orgainzed a health movement at the park, with workshops. Groups of midwives showed their work to the community. In the capital of Brasilia midwives came together for a conference, where they also showed the DVD "Midwives work" with Portuguese subtitles. 

In the Philippines, midwives associations organized a big congress with many attendants from all over the Philipines. 

In Bulgaria, midwives printed T-shirts with key messages and organized a marathon in a central park in the capital Sofia. 

In Taiwan, a BEST Midwives clinic was formed to provide women with the option of homebirth. Families with their babies came and spoke about their thankfulness for the services of midwives. 

In Malta, the midwifery student organization "Organizzazzjoni Studenti Qwiebel-OSQ" designed a special poster and used it to promote midwifery and the International Day of the Midwife on the Internet across different channels. 

In Chinathe Midwifery Association of Guangdong Province, with the support of the Associations Chairman Mr Xin Tu,  held a successful inaugural conference attended by over 300 midwives and obstetricians.  Also in attendance as the keynote speaker was ICM Board Member Ms Mary Kirk, Asia Pacific Region.  The Vice President of the Western University  GuangZhou MS Yu Yan Ping warmly welcomed everyone to the conference and as part of the ceremonies twenty four excellence awards were presented to midwives and obstetricians and twenty three organisation awards were also presented.  The conference was also attended by dignitaries from the Ministry of Health and non government organisations.  The significant achievemnets China has made in relation to reducing maternal  mortality was cause for celebration and even more so is the plan and committment China has to improving maternal health and morbidity into the future.  Mary and the immediate past Asia Pacific Region Board Member Ms Feng Yu-juan together with a group of dignitaries also visited Zhongshan Maternal and Infant Health Hospital where a model of midwifery led care by a team of twenty nine midwives is an example of excellence in China. 

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Partner organization also supported the International Day of the Midwife with statements, blogs, infographics and with a Twitter chat on Monday 6th using #midwivesmatter.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Confederation of Midwives have issued a joint statement to highlight the life-saving work midwives do. 

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) are supporting the International Day of the Midwife with a statement

The World Health Organization has published a blog to show support for midwives and midwifery. 

Integrare has designed an infographic on midwifery commitments 

Child Health Now is campaigning to reach the MDG 4 with a special Survive 5 day

AMREF has published a statement on their website

We would like to thank everyone for their support. Your voice is important to us! 

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International Day of the Midwife