State of the World’s Midwifery Report

The 2011 International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) conference was held in Durban, South Africa from June 19-23, 2011. The conference was attended by more than 3000 midwives from all over the world and it was the first time it was held on the African continent. The five day conference was packed full with workshops, plenary sessions, symposiums and many presentations. In addition the conference also attracted the submission of posters from local and international participants. The conference is a triennial celebration and the next location will be Prague, Czech Republic 2014. Prague has been a political, cultural and economic centre of Europe during its 1,100 year existence.

Our ICM conferences are always memorable events.  and this one was no exception. It got off to a rousing start at the opening ceremony with lively Zulu dancing welcoming the guests, which included several guest speakers such as the First Lady of Malawi. The main focus was on ICM president Bridget Lynch.

The State of the Worlds Midwifery Report  was launched. The purpose of this report was detailed in the original  Factsheet:

The report, which will be the first of its kind, is intended to facilitate midwifery strengthening around the world. It will provide new information and data gathered from 60 countries in all regions of the world, to

  • examine the number and distribution of health professionals involved in the delivery of midwifery services;
  • explore emerging issues related to education, regulation, professional associations, policies and external aid;
  • analyse global issues regarding health personnel with midwifery skills, most of whom are women, and the constraints and challenges that they face in their lives and work; and
  • call for accelerating investments for scaling up midwifery services, as well as “skilling up” the respective providers.

The report will include statistical tables and applicable global standards, collating relevant midwifery information into one reference document.

The release of this long awaited report and the powerful, poignant Stories of Midwives provides new information and data gathered from 58 countries in all regions of the world to thousands of midwives, nurses, physicians and doulas who travelled from all over the globe to address the challenges faced by midwives today. I met amazing people who are dedicating their lives and careers to this important cause. I was very touched by the energy and commitment as evidenced by this conference. I knew I was with passionate people from all over the world. I learned mucht from the midwives from Prague and I was so excited with when they introduced Prague to the world. Also at my hotel was delegation from Trinidad and Tobago, India and Indonesia.

I was with a passionate group of people and after a full agenda of activities the dinner conversations were filled with the day’s event and mostly sharing of ideas and future contacts. I met a midwife from every African country and it helps broaden my knowledge of their day to day work. Underneath the different accents and perspectives there was seething more. Yes there was a common sentiment that much more needs to be done to improve the lives of mothers and babies. We as midwives are 100% committed to the cause. We are here in Africa to make a difference. And we will. I know I will. The time is now…I am ready…we are ready. Africa is ready.

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