Margaret Abela writes from Pieta, in Malta:
The Midwives' Association of Malta has always celebrated the International Day of the Midwife on the Sunday nearest to 5 May each year. Midwives look forward to this day, which is celebrated together with relatives and friends. In previous years we have organised an educational activity, participated in a thanksgiving mass by the Association's Chaplain and ended with lunch.
Increased public involvement
This year we wanted to have more involvement of the general public--particularly of women of childbearing age--especially, since the theme for this year was 'Midwives--a voice for healthy families'. To promote the day, to the public, we participated in 'phone-in' radio programmes and contacted a number of people to pass on the word about this day.
For the first time this year, the Midwives' Association celebrated the day, together with the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN), by a seminar, which was held at the Golden Tulip, Vivaldi Hotel in St. Julians. For the seminar, we kept the theme proposed by the ICM for this day, i.e. 'Midwives--a voice for healthy families'.
The turnout of both professionals and public was very, encouraging, with members of the public making up 13% of all participants.
Government support for midwives and families
The Honourable Helen D'Amato, Parliamentary, Secretary with responsibility for Community Care within the Ministry of Health, opened the seminar. She highlighted the excellent outcomes of maternity care in Malta and pointed out areas where change and improvement could make these even better. The Director of Nursing Services and the Chief Executive Officer for Gender Equality also addressed those attending the seminar.
A number of papers were presented by practising midwives and all of these emphasised the theme of the day by underlining the importance of empowering midwives, mothers and families. The President of the Association, who is reading for a PhD, gave an interesting presentation on 'The Midwife with the Family'. The papers were followed by statements and questions from the floor.
Ms Margaret Abela, secretary of the Midwives' Association, then closed the seminar by asking all present to work together to reduce the medicalisation of maternity care and thus help in humanising childbirth in Malta.
At the conclusion of the seminar, it was agreed that a working group made up of professionals was to be set up to establish the way forward for midwifery care...