Enabling Environment, Philosophy

ISCH COST Action 1405 Final Action Conference 17-18 September

1 November 2018

International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) South Europe Regional Board Member, Professor Rita Borg Xuereb, represented ICM at the ISCH COST Action 1405 Final Action Conference, 17-18 September, Lisbon, Portugal. This Conference brought to closure two COST actions that spanned over 8 years. The action mainly focused on research, policy and practice in the context of childbirth and was implemented by a network of scientists, clinicians, service users, and policy makers from 33 countries. The conference was a showcase of their work over the past four years.

Professor Borg Xuereb was invited to give a presentation about ICM, titled ‘The Future of Right Maternity Care: a View from Stakeholders’. Professor Diogo Ayres-de-Campos – of the FIGO Committee for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health & the European Association of Perinatal Medicine and Ms Sara do Vale, from the European Network of Childbirth Associations & the Association for the Rights of Women in Pregnancy and Childbirth also presented their views.  These presentations were followed by a floor discussion.

Professor Borg Xuereb’s provided a short overview of the current global situation concerning women’s and newborn health and the evidence that midwives are the right professionals to accompany a mother during childbirth. Professor Borg Xuereb also elaborated on the challenges and barriers that midwives face in many countries around the world: especially with respect to their right to education and regulation. She also discussed the importance of optimizing midwifery scopes of practice, where midwives would utilise all the competencies they acquire in the course of their education.

The crux of the presentation focused on ICM’s vision and mission, its strategic objectives and its work, from a global perspective, which included identifying a number of projects that ICM currently leads in collaboration with its partners. Professor Borg Xuereb focussed more deeply on ICM’s aim to strengthen midwifery globally, including midwives’ associations, and ICM’s further vision of a world where every childbearing woman has access to a midwife’s care for herself and her newborn. She closed with a view to how ICM and its stakeholders look towards a future of right maternity care.

The Conference focused on physiology, compassion, and the changes that have happened over the 4 years of COST Action Birth. It also included topics such as: Making Change Happen in Maternity Care, Women’s Participation in Policy Making; Towards a Sustainable Approach to Childbirth Worldwide; Unveiling the Complex Physiology of Normal Labour and Birth; and, Innovation in Childbirth Research and Practice. There were also a number of parallel session and posters. 


More than 400 midwives, biomedical engineers, psychologists, psychiatrists, obstetricians and student midwives participated at the conference.