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Effective partnerships continue to hold the key to ICM's achievements: Board of Management Director Joyce Thompson reports on a successful discussion of future plans which draw on the strengths of ICM's global and local partners.

Excitement--challenges--eager anticipation--risks--planning for success! These are just a few of the emotions and activities that filled ICM headquarters during our most recent meeting of the Board of Management, 30 September and 1-2 October 2004.

Global connections

The Board members gathered from their workplaces or other meetings in Australia, Malaysia and Kenya, as well as from the Netherlands, to prepare for the upcoming Council and Congress events in Brisbane next year. The global influence of ICM was very visible in the sheer numbers of miles travelled by individual board members and the meetings attended. The Director came from Nairobi, Kenya, where she had co chaired three days of meetings of the Partnership for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health (PSMNH). The Deputy Director came from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was going on to Toronto, Canada, for an international meeting on regulation of nursing and midwifery professionals, followed by a meeting in Washington, DC, USA, of the Decision-making Committee of the White Ribbon Alliance. In addition, the Secretary General had recently returned from an ICM/FIGO meeting in Uganda and our Programme Manager had facilitated a successful review of the WHO/ICM midwifery' toolkit in Johannesburg, South Africa.

It is notable that each of these activities was funded from outside sources and therefore did not affect the recovery budget of ICM during 2004: this fact is further testimony of the high regard with which ICM is viewed in global affairs relating to the health of women and newborns and the strengthening of midwifery.

Much of the meeting time was spent on hearing about the details of the Congress programme and preparing the papers and ICM-led activities for the Council meeting, Pre-Congress workshop and Congress workshops. We also participated in several direct discussions with key ICM stakeholders who attended parts of the meeting as guests. These included ICM's Designated Technical Officer from WHO, Della Sherratt; a member of the newly established Resource Advisory Committee, Stephen van Kempen; and representatives from Congrex, an international congress organiser with whom ICM is negotiating a partnership to organise congresses beginning with the Glasgow event in 2008.

Following is a brief summary of the significant work undertaken--with some risk and lots of eager anticipation--in moving the ICM forward in its vital work to strengthen midwives and midwifery associations.

Brisbane Council and Congress

The Triennial Council meeting in Brisbane will be a vital decision-making session for the future of the ICM. First and foremost, discussion and voting will be held on the establishment of the new Dutch association and the revised constitution and bylaws for the International Confederation of Midwives.

Several existing position statements need to be reviewed, and we are all looking forward to new items of business being put forward by member associations. Preliminary instructions and papers will be sent to member associations in early November--so be on the lookout!

The Board is asking member associations to name their delegates early so that correspondence can also be sent directly to them in preparation for the Council meeting. Please note that Council voted in Vienna 2002 to have a four-day Council meeting, and this will begin on Monday, 18 July 2005. We would like to encourage all member associations to think about candidates for elected officer positions as well as key position statements you would like to put forward.

The ICM President, Caroline Weaver, presented the detailed work of the Brisbane Organising Committee and the Scientific Programme Committee. The Board has worked with the Scientific Programme Committee to ensure the inclusion of several ICM-led concurrent workshops. Other workshops--to be presented in partnership with the White Ribbon Alliance, Saving Newborn Lives and the USAID/POPPHI initiative on preventing postpartum haemorrhage--will also be developed in addition to the collaborative Pre-Congress Workshop, which will focus on promoting the mother baby dyad.

All agreed to mark the success of our partnership work by offering a short plenary spot each morning of Congress to representatives from some of ICM's key partners, including WHO, FIGO and PSMNH.

Global launch events will be held of both the ICM/FIGO joint statement on 'Prevention of postpartum haemorrhage' and the ICM/FIGO/WHO joint statement on 'Skilled attendants'. Lots of work and fundraising needs to be done, but planning is well underway for a successful Council and Congress in Brisbane, Australia, July 2005!

Other business

We were very pleased to welcome Stephen van Kempen, one of the members of the ICM's Resource Advisory Committee and hear of their efforts to support ICM's move toward a financially secure organisation as well as their support for the Secretary General during recent staff downsizing at Headquarters. As of November 2004, the number of staff at ICM HQ will be 3.8 (full-time equivalent) from a high of 5 fte in January 2004. This means a lot of efficiency required of remaining staff. On a sad note, our programme manager, Nester Moyo, will be returning to Zimbabwe in November to rejoin her family as we were not able to work out her immigration status to the satisfaction of the Dutch government. We hope to maintain key project links between Nester and ICM for many years to come.

Our developing project for Young Midwifery Leaders is very exciting and the current group who began their preparation in Trinidad in April 2004 continue their activities and commitment to ICM leadership. Other projects awaiting funding include the HIV/AIDS programme and further work with Strengthening Midwifery Associations. Our partnerships with FIGO and PATH offer the potential of strengthening midwifery associations as well as collaborative efforts between midwives and obstetricians to promote the health of childbearing women and families. New partnerships and support from USAID and WHO are in the pipeline, recognising the key role that 1CM can play' in promoting midwifery competencies skilled attendants, and human resource development for health.

ICM recognises the importance of strong member associations, strong midwives and visionary leaders in partnership with others who share common goals for healthy women and newborns. The Board acknowledges the support of individual midwives, our member associations and partners. We also pause to remember those less fortunate than we are who face uncertain futures due to war, poverty, human rights abuses, and unsafe pregnancies and birth. With ICM's vision plus a strategic plan of action, we can change the world for the better!
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Author:Thompson, Joyce
Publication:International Midwifery
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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