The International Day of the Midwife 2007: with the triennial theme of 'Keeping birth normal' and the year's focus of 'Reaching out to women', midwives celebrated in their own way across the world.

 
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This year's round-up includes extracts from items published in the local or national press, as well as reports from member associations. At ICM Head Office we were delighted to see more articles of both sorts than ever before. The International Day is more widely recognised every year and is becoming a major event in the process of raising the midwifery profile in the global arena.

Afghanistan

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Over 150 members of the three-year-old Afghan Midwives Association (AMA) came together to mark the day. Dr Saed M Amin Fatemi, Minister of Public Health in the Afghan government, opened the celebrations at the Insaf Hotel in the capital city Kabul and, during his speech, pledged the support of the Ministry to the AMA to assist in meeting its goals.

At the annual congress, held immediately before the IDM, midwives were presented with certificates and gifts for their individual achievements, and there were also prizes for designing a midwifery poster. One winning poster, shown below, designed and crafted by midwives from Nangarhar province, symbolises the midwives as doves who bring health and peace to the families of Afghanistan, while the spreading branches of the trees show the different places and ways in which midwives carry out their work.

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Australia

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The Advertiser in Bendigo, Victoria, reported on May 5 that: 'Midwives at Bendigo Health and from around the world are taking part in International Midwives Day celebrations today. The day honours and promotes midwifery and the many and varied aspects of the role. Among the celebrations at Bendigo Health, the staff farewelled midwife Annette Ramage, who retired after 32 years of service. "I've had so many highlights in my career," she said. "... meeting the [women], seeing through their pregnancies and then seeing them return again for their second and third babies. The other is I have worked with a wonderful bunch of colleagues." To celebrate International Midwives Day Ms Ramage presented a quilt to Julie Dillon and baby Riley (photo above).

Austria

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Austrian midwives braved wet spring weather to join many other European midwives in releasing balloons to publicise the idea of keeping birth normal.

The Austrian balloons were printed with the slogan 'Kinder kommen durch Frauenkraft'--'Children are born through woman-power!'

Burundi

Une annee vient de s 'ecouler depuis que les femmes burundaises accouchent gratuitement dans les structures sanitaire publiques. Cet anniversaire et la journee internationale de la sage femme ont ete celebres au Burundi le 05 mai 2007 dans toutes les provinces du pays dans le but de palper les realites du terrain dans le milieu recule. Lors des manifestations, les sages-femmes ont ete informes sur l'etat d'avancement du dossier d'agrement de l'association Burundaise de sages-femmes > en sigle.

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Dans la province de Rutana, les sages-femmes et autres professionnels de la sante se sont retrouves a la maternite de Gihofi pour evaluer ensemble les resultats de la maternite gratuite dans cette province et proceder au lancement du Groupe d'Assistance pour la Promotion de la Maternite sans Risques (voir le photo), une association qui regroupe les sages-femmes, infirmieres, auxiliaires de sante, accoucheuse traditionnelles et autres animateurs de sante. L 'objectif de cette association est de sensibiliser les femmes a l'age de procreer sur l'importance de la consultation prenatale, le depistage volontaire du VIH/Sida pendant la grossesse et les autres avantages d'accoucher sous assistance qualifiee. Elle va aussi encadrer toutes femmes victimes des grossesses issues de la violence sexuelle sur toutes ces formes. Une fois agreer, l'association Burundaise des sagesfemmes compte mettre sur pieds a travers ce groupe, une equipe mobile qui sera prete a intervenir a tout moment devant une urgente obstetricale qui pourra survenir dans les centres de sante les plus recules.

Les manifestations ont ete cloturees par la remise des moustiquaires aux femmes qui ont accouches le 1-5 mai 2007 a l'hopital de Gihofi.

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A year has passed since the day it was determined that women in Burundi would be able to deliver their babies in health institutions, free of charge. Burundi celebrated the anniversary of this momentous decision together with the International Day of the Midwife on May 5, 2007, throughout the various provinces of Burundi. The aim of these celebrations was to get a feel for the impact of this new service, particularly in the more remote areas. During the event, midwives were informed of the progress of the official incorporation of the Burundi Association of Midwives, >.

In the province of Rutana in the south-east of Burundi, midwives and other health professionals met at a maternity hospital in Gihofi to evaluate collectively the results of the free maternity services in this province and to launch the Assistant Group for the promotion of Safe Motherhood. The group consists of health professionals from a variety of backgrounds who deal with maternal health. The group's aim is to raise awareness amongst childbearing women of the importance of prenatal consultations, voluntary HIV/AIDS screening during pregnancy and other advantages of skilled care. The group will also take into its...

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