The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), as a member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the worldwide body for midwives, celebrates the International Day of the Midwife today, Friday, May 5. The theme for the day is “Midwives, mothers and families: Partners for Life”. May 5 every year is dedicated to recognising that millions of women and newborns around the world are cared for by skilled midwives every day.
Midwives everywhere understand that by working in partnership with women and their families they can support them to make better decisions about what they need to have a safe and fulfilling birth. It is evident that midwives deliver more than babies, in many instances they provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and play a critical role in promoting health issues in their communities.
As members of their communities midwives are familiar with community issues, cultures and challenges. Working in partnership with women allows midwives and women to get to know each other and build trust and respect. Midwives can then provide individualised care that meets each woman’s needs, is culturally safe, includes the woman’s family and is therefore more likely to have a lasting impact.
Access to a skilled midwife can help reduce and prevent deaths of more than 287,000 women who die while giving birth and 2.7 million newborns who die within the first 28 days of life because they have no mothers. That is why we need to take this partnership between midwives and mothers to a political level. If midwives and women and their families raise their voices together to advocate for changes to midwifery and maternity services they can combine their political power to make more impact and bring about changes so that services meet the needs of women and midwives.
The INMO and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have run an all-Ireland conference for midwives for 19 years. The bonds between the two organisations and their friendly relationship have always been strong. Delegates attending the INMO’s Annual Delegate Conference in Wexford endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreed between the Executive Councils of the INMO and the RCM, which supports the RCM in becoming a member of ICTU with each organisation respecting the others representative rights in the relevant jurisdiction. This memorandum will strengthen the relationship between the two Organisations and the unique partnership which grants full membership services, to RCM Midwife members working temporally in the republic and visa- versa where Irish midwives do a temporary assignment in the UK. . Under the new partnership members of the INMO will have exclusive access to a range of world leading educational and research materials produced by RCM including, journals, evidence-based guidelines and webinars.
Delegates attending the ADC in Wexford also voted to take whatever action is necessary to ensure the recruitment and retention of the 450 midwives required to implement the Midwifery Strategy.
INMO President, Martina Harkin-Kelly, speaking on the International Day of the Midwife said:
“It remains the absolute conviction, of the INMO, that midwifery standards and, best practice, are being increasingly pressurised due to our continuing high birth rate against a background of a shortage of midwives.
Immediate action is now required on recruitment of additional midwifery staff. This day should generate positive actions, both here and abroad, to realise this essential goal.”