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ICM Southern Europe Region: new goals and priorities in education and practice: Vitor Varela, ICM Board member in the Southern Europe Region, brought together midwives from the Mediterranean countries to agree a new plan for action.

Vitor writes: During the first regional meeting of this triennium--held in Athens, Greece, on 12-13 January, we had a priority: to make our Action Plan.

Vision

First, we discussed how we would envisage an ideal situation for midwives in this region. We agreed on two significant points of great importance:

* Midwives are educated within the European Higher Education Area and are qualified for autonomous practice

* Midwives aim to achieve optimal health for mothers and newborns.

Goals

Secondly, we worked to identify specific goals that will take us forward towards achieving the vision.

* To promote midwifery education (direct university entry) within the European Higher Education Area and to ensure that midwives are qualified for autonomous practice

* To ensure that midwives are responsible for and act as educators in midwifery programmes

* To promote the midwifery profession and the value of the midwife in keeping birth normal.

Actions

Finally, consideration of the vision and goals led to the formation of a more detailed action plan.

The educational programme should be based on competencies, specifically on the ICM's Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice.

A midwifery educational programme must have access to the three levels of undergraduate and postgraduate education--BSc, MSc and PhD in midwifery--in accordance with the cycles of education set out in the Bologna Declaration (www.bologna-berlin2003.de/pdf/bologna_declaration.pdf). Midwifery knowledge and competencies must be evidence based.

In midwives' clinical practice, the important aspects are: strengthening physiological processes during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period, and avoiding unnecessary interventions, i.e. those not based on clinical needs, during pregnancy and childbirth. Last but not least, we included 'Empowering midwives to feel competent and safe in their midwifery skills in normal childbirth'; and 'Empowering women to have access to evidence-based midwifery care'.

Priorities

We saw as the greatest priority the development of Midwifery Education in all levels, according to the Bologna Declaration. We aim to ensure the provision of life-long, evidence-based education in midwifery. A further priority is to carry out work to identify the particular needs of both women and midwives--through a research process--to contribute to the practice of normal childbirth.

Celebration of the International Day of the Midwife

The representative of each member association presented a report about the celebration of the International Day of Midwives (IDM) in their country. Olga Arvanitidou put forward the suggestion to rename the day to become 'International Day of Normal Birth'. However, Gloria Seguranyes from Spain made the point that, in Spain, a day to celebrate midwives existed even before ICM nominated the IDM. For that reason--also because the IDM has been agreed by the whole international Council of ICM--the Spanish midwives did not wish to vote for the change of name.

Vitor Varela presented the proposal from the Central Europe Region about the celebration of the IDM on 5 May 2007. According to this proposal, it could be a joint programme of celebration across Europe: to launch a campaign on 5 May at 12:00 o'clock Central European Time in all cities in Europe, by releasing white balloons with blue letters saying 'Midwives Keep Birth Normal', and the launch to be followed by a media campaign.

Panani Perma, from Greece, expressed the opinion that the focus of the celebration depends on the needs of each society. After discussion, members took the decision, following a proposal from Portugal, to have one action in common. After this action, each association can celebrate

in the way seen as appropriate in that country.

Gloria Seguranyes (Spain) explained that the Federacion de Asociaciones de Matronas de Espana (FAME) had already started a normal birth initiative in 2006 which is going to be implemented in 2007. They will therefore aim to merge the actions to reflect both campaigns.

Finally, the decision taken about the celebration of the IDM in Southern Europe Region was to release the balloons as suggested above, as a joint action with Central Europe, along with a media campaign. Members from Cyprus will prepare a leaflet, common for the member associations of Southern Europe, translated in different languages. The subject of the leaflet will focus on normal birth, which is one of ICM's key strategies. Rallou Lymperi will act as secretary.
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Title Annotation:International Confederation of Midwives
Publication:International Midwifery
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Jun 1, 2007
Words:697
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