This session at the ICM's 28th Triennial Congress was led by NT Moyo supported by Elizabeth Duff. The time allocated was 45 minutes, which made it a challenge to include information-giving as well as activities with the participants--and question and answers--so the content was taken at a brisk pace. However, the session was well attended, with over 30 participants, and all contributed to a lively discussion.
Every delegate was given a sheet with a short quiz (see box) and given five minutes to complete the answers. The presenter then went through the questions, giving the correct response. This process allowed a great deal of interaction as delegates raised many points around each question and, unless discouraged, were inclined to begin vigorous exchanges of views with each other.
Affiliation with the UN
A point that formed a major focus for discussion was the explanation that the ICM is affiliated with the UN as a professional technical agency. This means that the UN--or its health-related bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO)--consults with ICM on issues of maternal and newborn health and the preparation of health care providers for women, newborns, children and families. [The 'official relationship' with WHO was established in 1957--the 50th anniversary was noted in IM20 (4): 53.]
Participants were keen to understand salient features of the ICM governing structure. The governing body of the Confederation is the Council, made up of two members of each member association. Till 2007, Council met only face-to-face once every three years. According to the new constitution, the meetings will now be yearly, though in the years between congresses, voting--on a limited agenda--will take place by proxy.
During discussion about the ICM journal International Midwifery, Elizabeth was able to emphasise that we encourage submissions of all sorts (articles, reports, news items) with international--though not necessarily global relevance. Midwifery activities across a region or transcultural practice between nations are of interest.
Only midwives' associations are and can be members of the Confederation. This issue raised a number of questions; some participants felt strongly that the issue of individual membership should be revisited. This section provided opportunities to advocate for midwives' associations to be led by midwives and to have a constitution which showed that midwifery...