We present a round-up of midwives' action on the International Day of the Midwife 2008:
Tasmania: This year's International Midwives Day (IMD) saw a multitude of different celebrations by midwives and women.
In Southern Tasmania a morning tea and storytelling session was held, while midwives in Northern Tasmania had afternoon tea with the Federal member for Bass, Jodie Campbell. Jodie presented each midwife with a Purple Dutch Iris.
The North West had celebrations in both Devonport and Burnie. The Mersey Community Hospital started the day with a talk on the psychosocial aspects of pregnancy over breakfast, and a street stall was held where midwives talked to members of the community and handed out balloons. Later midwives celebrated with a dinner where Francine Douce was presented with the Tasmanian Midwifery Peer award.
Francine has had a pinnacle role in the development of a maternity service for 'rural and remote' women, which has been vital for women who would otherwise receive no or minimal care during their pregnancy due to social and financial circumstances. Francine has also taken an active role in the establishment of an emergency birthing room at the Smithton hospital and providing support and professional development opportunities to midwives working in more remote areas of Tasmania.
Burnie also celebrated breakfast and afternoon tea with the Federal member for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom, when the Johnson & Johnson Tasmanian Midwife of the Year Award was presented to Dianne Summers.
There was lots of media coverage of IMD in all the major Tasmanian newspapers.
Veronica Wood, President, Australian College of Midwives Tasmania branch
A seminar was organised by the Bangladesh Nursing Council (BNC) and supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the occasion of the International Day of the Midwife, 5 May, 2008. This seminar was held to bring to mind the universal importance of midwives' work, what midwives stand for and the important and unique role that midwives play. It was the 3rd time ever that Bangladesh celebrated the IDM
BNC invited and received 600 participants from Government, the Directorate of Nursing Services, WHO, professional associations, NGOs and nurse/midwives. The theme throughout the presentations was that Bangladesh calls for urgent action to address the shortage of midwives. With a high maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 297/100,000 in Bangladesh it is important that a separate cadre of midwives be set up to allow more midwives to be trained, to provide care and health service to mother and child.
There is also an acute shortage of nurse/midwives working in the antenatal, birthing units and postnatal wards, so that it is not possible to provide a service with quality. BNC calls for action to develop the existing Nurse/Midwife Workforce by providing a further six-month midwifery training to become a Certified Midwife, who will be placed only in the maternity unit. Moreover, BNC is in the process of...