Tuesday, 8th May 2012
Midwives go global
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has secured British Government support for a major three year midwifery twinning project to strengthen midwifery associations and improve midwifery services in Nepal, Cambodia and Uganda. These countries were selected because they have high rates of maternal and perinatal deaths.
The funding was announced today at an RCM event to celebrate International Day of the Midwife by Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development. This project is funded through the Health Partnership Scheme, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the benefit of the UK and partner country health sectors.
The main aims of the project are to improve the capacity and effectiveness of midwifery associations in each of the three countries. This will be done by using a twinning concept developed by the International Confederation of Midwives. Twinned countries work together to foster two-way learning and knowledge and skills sharing, throughout and hopefully beyond the course of the project.
The RCM will work with midwifery associations and governments in each country to dovetail the project’s aims with their national plans for reducing maternal and perinatal deaths and, to strengthen midwifery services.
A major focus of the project is on the UK and twinned countries learning from each other. The UK volunteer midwives will use their expertise to support midwifery associations and midwifery colleagues in their twinned country. As the project gets underway the RCM will match midwives with the relevant skills and experience to each country. They will also bring back the knowledge, skills, and lessons learnt overseas during their experience back to the UK.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said: “British midwives, nurses, and medical teams are among the best in the world. The Health Partnership Scheme allows us to harness their expertise to help give developing countries the skills needed to improve the health of some of the world’s poorest people.
"It is an international scandal that one thousand women die every day in pregnancy or childbirth and tackling the tragic scale of maternal and child deaths is a key priority for the British Government.”
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This is a wonderful project to be announcing. I am delighted that the RCM has received this funding to strengthen our sister associations and give the opportunity to many UK midwives who want to give something back to midwifery and help women in Nepal, Cambodia and Uganda.
“However, it is not a one-way street because we in the UK will also have a lot to learn from our colleagues overseas, who often have to deliver care in very difficult circumstances. This project is about learning and sharing experiences and practice to make a difference there and here and bring back a different perspective to midwifery in the UK.
“Our members have told us that they are very keen to see the RCM continue its international work and this is a hugely significant development in that area. This builds on the RCM’s existing global work to support and strengthen midwifery worldwide.”
Jane Cockerell, Chief Executive at THET, said; “We are delighted by the quality and range of these HPS grants and look forward to supporting the UK and developing country partners in their delivery of effective, sustainable health workforce training and development projects.”
For more information contact the RCM Press Office on 020 7312 3456, email@example.com, DfID press office on 020 7023 0600.
Notes to editors
The Health Partnership Scheme (HPS) is a four-year programme to support the development of health services in some of the world’s poorest countries. The scheme will harness UK health institutions and professionals to improve health outcomes and strengthen health systems through the sharing of skills and other collaborative projects. The scheme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by THET.
THET (Tropical Health & Education Trust) is an international development organisation with over 20 years of experience in strengthening health services in low-income countries through partnerships. These health partnerships improve the skills of health workers and build long-term capacity in developing countries. It is a London-based organisation that also has country offices in Zambia and Somaliland. THET is a UK-registered charity. www.thet.org
The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. We are the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are our members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. We support and represent our members individually and collectively in all four UK countries. We influence on behalf of our members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care. For more information visit the RCM website at www.rcm.org.uk.