Strengthening skilled care in the African Region: ICM takes role in WHO workshop: ICM Programme Manager Nester Moyo co-facilitated a workshop and presented the ICM Essential Competencies: September 13-17, 2004, Johannesburg, South Africa.

I facilitated at a workshop entitled 'Strengthening Midwifery Skills in the Africa Region' run by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and held at the Rosebank Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. Twelve countries were represented: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Nine of these are countries where ICM has a member association. There were 60 participants altogether and 18 of them were from ICM member associations. The workshop also included representatives from the regulatory bodies for health service providers, ministries of health, midwives' associations, obstetricians and gynaecologists.

Objectives of the workshop

* To describe the provision of skilled care within the context of the African Region

* To identify barriers to the provision of quality education, training and practice of midwifery in the African Region to support achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and to make recommendations for strengthening human resource planning and management at country level

* To develop a proposal for a conceptual framework for the establishment of standards for midwifery practice in the African region

* To develop national plans for the strengthening of midwifery education, training, regulation and practice for skilled care in the Africa Region.

ICM contribution

Besides co-facilitating in general, I presented the ICM Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice as the skills required by any skilled attendant. The competencies were well received. The region accepted adopting them as the minimum requirements for skilled attendants in the African Region. As expected, certain aspects of practice will be added to the competencies, which make them more appropriate to their environment. Discussion also focused on how the competencies could be implemented in the context of varying entry requirements for midwifery training across the region.

ICM Young Midwifery Leaders

Two mentee/mentor pairs from the Young Midwifery Leaders Programme were able to attend--these were Keith Lipato and Lennie Kamwendo (Malawi) and Elgonda Bekker and Diana du Plessis (South Africa). This was an excellent learning opportunity to take in aspects of topics such as power, organisation, debating and articulating ideas in a forum.

There was a heart-warming show of dedication and commitment to the programme among the four of them. It was good that ICM had made the opportunity available, and...

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