Back 17 July 2013

Innovative approaches for Women’s Health – adequate initiatives

The Pacific Society for Reproductive Health (PSRH) held their 10th Biennial Scientific meeting in Apia, Samoa this month. PSRH is a collaborative venture between midwives and obstetricians across the Pacific. The conference theme was ‘Innovative approaches for Women’s Health – are the current initiatives adequate’. The conference was three days of inspiring and context specific presentations and discussions by maternity care professionals in the Pacific, revolving around this theme and exploring what is needed in the Pacific to ensure quality care for mothers, babies and families. The ICM Asia-Pacific board members, Sue Bree and Mary Kirk, along with ICM Technical Midwife Advisor, Rachael Lockey attended the conference. 

Midwives attending workshop in Samoa

Samoa is a beautiful country, comprising two main islands, with a strong tradition of oration, singing and dance thus ensuring the conference was vibrant and energetic. Building on earlier work in the Pacific and a workshop hosted by the New Zealand College of Midwives in Auckland in March of this year, ICM facilitated a pre-conference workshop on developing and strengthening Midwifery Associations. Midwives from ten countries across the Pacific attended. The workshop was a great success and a commitment was made between countries to form a Pacific Society of Midwives, bringing unity and strength in numbers across the region. You can read more about this here.

Professor Pat Brodie, an Australian midwife, was invited to give the Brian Spurrett oration. Pat worked with Professor Brian Spurrett, an Australian obstetrician in the 1980’s. Sadly Brian passed away in 2000, however his legacy and dedication to the Pacific lives on through the
Brian Spurrett Foundation. Pat is the first midwife to have given the oration and she gave a heartfelt talk on the importance of community, networking and support to ensure the health and safety of women, babies and families, particularly those in areas far from cities.

One half day was dedicated to midwifery issues and this provided a perfect forum for sharing between countries in the Pacific. There was an opportunity to present the ICM Global Standards for Education, Regulation as well as the Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice.

On the Wednesday evening there was a cultural night. This event has become something of a highlight at the PSRH conferences. People from countries across the region perform traditional dances as well as contemporary versions. Much laughter and fun was had by all.

ICM would like to acknowledge the support and partnership approach of PSRH, making it possible to have a presence at this event, with a special thanks to Alec Ekeroma, PSRH President and Kathy Gapirongo, PSRH Vice President and President of the Solomon Islands Midwives Society.

Report by Technical Midwife Advisor Rachael Lockey

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