This event was one of the ICM workshops presented at the Triennial Congress in Brisbane in July 2005, in collaboration with partner organisations. Around 50 midwives attended, from countries including Afghanistan, Australia, Barbados, Denmark, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Uganda, the UK and USA.
The facilitators presented a varied programme to raise awareness, share information among participants and stimulate brainstorming to achieve the development of recommendations by the end of the session.
Nester Moyo, ICM, discussed the significance of obstetric fistula from the perspective of ICM, Wame Baravilala, UNFPA, presented on the Campaign to End Fistula; Joseph Ruminjo, from Engender Health, introduced the video 'Love, Labor, Loss'; P Annie Clark, of ACCESS and ACNM, explained the ACCESS project's offer of small grants for those working to prevent obstetric fistula. Participants were asked to discuss the midwife's role in prevention, counselling, management, treatment and follow-up of women with fistula, and to answer the following questions: What is the midwives role now? What do we think it should be? What can we do to make it happen? What recommendations do we have for ICM?
A questionnaire to assess participants' baseline knowledge about fistula was administered at the beginning of the workshop. Among questions asked of participants were those shown in the box below:
The brainstorming session on 'what can we do?' elicited a large number of ideas from participants, including:
* Raise awareness of the risk of fistula by means of radio, drama, newspapers and other media
* Provide education on the benefits of delayed marriage and first childbirth
* Establish peer counselling in hospitals and support groups for women with fistula
* Educate family/birth attendants regarding the dangers of obstructed labour
* Educate midwives to identify obstructed labour and fistula early and intervene with catheterisation to promote healing
* Educate women after they have received surgical repair in fistula prevention, self-care and contraception
* Establish partnerships with local leaders to raise community awareness focusing on women's and young girls' needs for nutrition, antenatal care and family planning
There was also focus on the problems of countries where health professionals, including midwives, leave to work overseas.
It was suggested that unethical recruitment strategies be highlighted, that countries recruiting midwives take more responsibility for...