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ICM Toronto

Lia Brigante
14 July, 2017

ICM Toronto

I knew the ICM Triennial Congress in Toronto was going to be an incredible opportunity to listen to inspiring colleagues from all over the world and find out more on global midwifery; what I didn’t know was how overwhelmingly similar the issues that midwives face in every corner of the planet are. We are fighting the same battles on different levels and in different ways.

The Canadian colleagues welcomed us at the airport under the incredibly well designed banner “Midwives making a difference in the world”; this message was repeated over and over during the congress days and contributed to making the midwives participants feeling extremely valued and proud (particularly appreciated considering how difficult frontline midwifery practice can be).

At the opening ceremony the ICM President Frances Day-Stirk said that the readiness and willingness of the midwifery workforce should be acknowledge and valued by world leaders, deploying resources into midwifery. Investing in more midwives means investing in women, and leads to positive and tangible changes in the community. In each plenary session illustrious speakers stated how midwives save lives and make a difference for women and children’s health often with poor resources and little recognition.

 

I followed the RCM Director’s advice and chose the seminars from international colleagues, that you don’t get the chance to hear often in the UK. It turned out to be a brilliant suggestion as I ended up finding out about the incredible work on Inuit and Aboriginal midwives in Canada, the homebirth debate in US, tatami births in Japan and mobile clinics in a disaster zone in South Asia. I discovered how little I knew of the Dutch and Australian midwifery systems and I had the chance to listen and talk to midwives professors and researchers I had only read about before. Each and every speaker was inspirational and the diversity of practice and settings made the experience truly fascinating.

 

The combination of work and social events was a unique opportunity to network and have fun together and the entertainment provided as well as the flag ceremony made it feel like the Olympics of Midwifery! 

 

ICM congress is the perfect occasion for midwives to come together and empower each other, while strengthening midwifery leadership globally.

I think that standing together, all 4200 of us, dancing to “Stand by me” was the best moment of the entire congress. I made me realise that all the #WORLDMIDWIVES want the same things: love, safe and competent care for all the women on planet Earth. And standing together we will certainly get there.

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