Advocacy, Europe

ICM and KAM Collaborative Advocacy Workshop Unveils Strategies to Enhance Midwifery in Kyrgyzstan

22 December 2023

ICM and the Kyrgyz Alliance of Midwives (KAM) held a joint advocacy skills workshop in November 2023 on enabling midwives and midwifery advocates to understand advocacy and how to use it to promote change for midwives and midwifery in Kyrgyzstan. 

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) collaborated with to conduct an advocacy workshop for KAM members and key stakeholders.  

The workshop, held in late November 2023 in enabled  

Participants gathered in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, to identify and discuss solutions to key challenges facing midwives and midwifery in Kyrgyzstan, including: 

  • insufficient number of midwives/inadequate staffing levels 
  • lack of a strong national policies for midwifery 
  • unclear roles and limited scope of practice 
  • professional disrespect/poor treatment at work 
  • poor education and training 
  • limited opportunities for leadership and career advancement 
  • limited resources for the Midwives Association (MA) 

In her keynote address, ICM Chief Midwife Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent encouraged participants that many of these challenges can be addressed through wider systems change, informed by  government policy and funding, that requires strategic, focused advocacy.  

ICM works to strengthen midwifery associations such as KAM through a range of programmes and resources. Referring to the Professional Framework for Midwifery, Prof. Dunkley-Bent noted, “All the elements of the professional framework need to be in place if midwifery is to be strong and if midwives are to be able to practice to their full scope and deliver the improvements in outcomes for mothers and babies that research shows they can. If Kyrgyzstan were to adopt this professional framework, we would see higher quality midwifery services, more fulfilling careers for midwives and improved reproductive health for women, their newborns and their families.” 

The leadership and advocacy of MAs like KAM is vital for all elements of the Professional Framework for Midwifery to be implemented. Each element of the framework is inextricably linked. If one element is not implemented, then the other elements will be weakened and the return on investment will not be realised. 

Prior to the workshops, KAM, supported by ICM, conducted an advocacy needs assessment to understand the level of knowledge, skills and practices related to advocacy that would guide advocacy capacity building for KAM. This further enabled ICM develop a tailored package of resources to support KAM in its current and future efforts to advocate for a stronger midwifery profession that can improve health outcomes for women, newborns and families in Kyrgyzstan.  

Asel Orozalieva, Executive Director of KAM, commended ICM for the excellent skills-building workshop, which enabled participants to understand advocacy and key approaches to promoting midwives and midwifery. She said, “I look forward to seeing the participants use their newly acquired skills to promote issues of midwives and midwifery in Kyrgyzstan. It is my hope that many other members in other regions of Kyrgyzstan also benefit from these kinds of training so that as midwives and advocates, we can speak with a strong and louder voice as we demand for improvements in policies and funding for midwives and midwifery.” 

As part of its advocacy support to KAM, ICM worked with KAM to pilot the Midwifery Services Framework (MSF) from 2015 to 2017. This work resulted in Kyrgyzstan appointing its first Chief Midwife in 2017.  


Watch clips from the workshop and listen to participants’ impressions here. 

All workshop photos on this link: