Promoting the health of mothers and newborns during birth and the postnatal period; Nester T Moyo describes a successful Collaborative Safe Motherhood Pre-Congress Workshop, held in Brisbane, Australia, July 21-23, 2005.

AuteurMoyo, Nester T.

The death of a childbearing woman (and often her unborn or newborn child) is always disaster, an unnecessary and wasteful event which carries with it a huge burden of human grief and pain. Since 1987 ICM and its member associations have been addressing safe motherhood issues through international and regional workshops focussing on different aspects of the safe motherhood initiative.

This year's theme was 'Promoting the Health of Mothers and Newborns during Pregnancy, Birth and the Postnatal Period', a topic intended to bring senior midwives back to basics. Basic midwifery skills are the ones that make the midwife a skilled attendant--the best person to attend a birth.

There is mounting evidence demonstrating the benefit of midwifery care in the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality. It has been shown that when the number of midwives increases, the number of women who die decreases. It has also been demonstrated that women's satisfaction with care is linked to utilisation of services and reduction of mortality. To maintain and enhance such a positive impact it is of paramount importance for the skills of midwives to be at their best when they come in contact with women.

This workshop was designed to update and strengthen the basic skills of midwives and also to remind midwives about ethical care and the philosophy of midwifery care. The sessions enabled midwives to design strategies for change and improvement in practice within their countries.


There were 43 participants from 29 countries: 13 from the Pacific Islands, 10 from Africa, eight from the Middle East, five from Asia, four from Europe, two from the West Indies and one from Argentina. This was the first time ICM had participants from the Middle East. It was a pleasure to interact with midwives from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates--an enriching cultural exchange and learning opportunity for both participants and facilitators.

Official opening

The official opening included pledges of support from the sponsors. Mr Michael Head, Vice President of Johnson and Johnson World Baby Franchise.

Dr Wame Baravilala of UNFPA praised the efforts of ICM in educating midwives so that they are able to carry out their responsibilities more effectively for the benefit of women and children of the world.

Dr Monir Islam, Director of the Making Pregnancy Safer Initiative of the WHO Headquarters Geneva stated that the public health strategy now for saving women...

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