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.
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.