The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has designated 5 May as the 'International Day of the Midwife (IDM)' since1992. Midwives in the world have celebrated it for 16 years. However, it is even more a special day this year for Chinese midwives because they have, for the first time, obtained officials' approval and support to organise their own celebration.
The theme for the event was 'The world needs midwives now more than ever'. The event symbolised the progression of Chinese Midwifery and highlighted the recognition of its importance from Chinese Authority.
At present, midwifery in China is not an independent profession, nor can Chinese midwives work to their full potential because of the lack of adequate recognition and legislation. Since 1996, midwifery in mainland China has been marginalised by medicine and nursing; few people understand the meaning and role of a midwife, let alone the International Day of the Midwife. In this context, it is a milestone for Chinese midwives to acquire approval and recognition from the local government for this celebration.
A memorable moment in Chinese midwifery history
This celebration took place in Shenzhen, China. It was organised by the midwives and hosted by the Shenzhen Nursing Association of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Around 200 Shenzhen midwives and about 20 midwifery specialists came together from all over the country to mark this memorable moment in Chinese midwifery history and to discuss the future development of their profession.
Each head of the Health Department of Guangdong province and that of Shenzhen, made a speech in the meeting. They supported the midwives to celebrate their own festival and called for action and commitment to reduce maternal and infant mortality. The leaders also acknowledged the solidarity and contribution of midwives.
In this series of activities, a spokeswoman of Feng Yujuan, the representative of ICM Asia Pacific Regional, introduced the function and organisation of the ICM and described midwifery development in Hong Kong, which broadened the midwives' perspective and helped them know more about international midwifery.
Cheung Ngai Fen, professor of Hangzhou Normal University gave a wonderful lecture about a recent research project 'the first midwife-led normal birth unit in...