ICM Secretary General Agneta Bridges gives members and readers an update on recent events from her office in The Hague.
I am delighted to be writing for the first time to all readers of the ICM journal, with a short summary of the key events which have taken place over the past few very busy months, since the memorable Triennial Congress held in Glasgow, Scotland, last June. The pace of change was very swift in my first year as Secretary General, and I am indebted to the members of the ICM Board and the staff at the ICM headquarters for their support.
ICM/UNFPA 'Investing in Midwives' Programme
The recruitment of Regional Midwife Advisers (RMAs) was another step in this new programme, and you have already heard of the appointment of Ms Abigail Kyei from Ghana in October 2008 as International Midwife Adviser (IMA). We are pleased to welcome Dr Jemima Dennis-Antwi, a registered nurse/midwife and a health communication specialist, as Regional Midwife Adviser (RMA) for the Anglophone African countries and Mrs Rachel Ibinga-Koula, a midwife with more than 15 years experience in the area of maternal and newborn health as RMA for the francophone African countries. We are currently recruiting an RMA for Asia, and recruitment is ongoing by UNFPA for Country Midwife Advisers. You will read in the news section, on p 14 of this issue that Jemima has already been active on our behalf by joining in a high-profile online discussion forum about maternal health, organised by the UN Millennium Campaign.
The ICM has received membership applications from four midwifery associations: The Executive Committee has reviewed the applications and will recommend they be formally admitted to membership at the June Board Meeting. It is excellent news that we continue to receive applications, from countries which will broaden and strengthen our representation. Further details of the new members will be provided once they are formally accepted into membership.
A Global Outreach Meeting was organised in The Hague in November 2008 to share experiences and explore ways in which ICM and Member Associations may collaborate in the future. The meeting included presentations from Member Associations involved in outreach programmes, followed by discussion and future planning. Participating member associations included: the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Japanese Midwives' Association, Royal Dutch Organisation of Midwives, Royal College of Midwives (UK) and the Swedish Association of Midwives. Details of this meeting were reported in the last issue of IM.
As part of the ICM/UNFPA midwife programme, a two-day Technical Advisory Meeting was held in Geneva on 2-3 February 2009, which brought together international experts, who have worked closely with midwifery programmes in resource-poor countries to contribute to the development of a conceptual framework for midwifery services within national healthcare systems. Currently no such framework exists globally, and, as a result, some governments are training cadres of community health workers with midwifery skills in the absence of professional midwives to provide ongoing supervision and training. The aim of the meeting was to consider the development of a comprehensive and adaptable Midwifery Services Framework within which a midwifery workforce could be developed efficiently and effectively. A draft framework was devised during the meeting, which will be developed further and circulated for consultation.
The ICM/UNFPA Investing in Midwives programme was formally launched with an Inception Forum in Accra, Ghana 2-13 March, 2009. The overall aim was to increase the awareness of country and regional midwife advisers of their task and formally introduce the programme to stakeholders. Thirty-six participants made up of ICM and UNFPA staff occupying various positions from The Americas, Europe, Africa and USA attended, with the objective to review midwifery practice in the areas of education, regulation and professional midwifery associations. The meeting also included a leadership development component and concluded with insight into the various issues affecting midwifery education, regulation and the professional associations in-country. Training needs were identified, work plans developed and preparation made for the launch of the Investing in Midwives programme in country.
I look forward to writing to you again later in the year and meanwhile send greetings and good wishes to all readers.
Agneta S Bridges, Secretary General, International Confederation of Midwives