Student Grant Reports - International Confederation of Midwives Americas Regional Conference

International Confederation of Midwives Americas Regional Conference: Midwives Leading the Way for Quality and Equity in the Americas

Asuncion, Paraguay: November 7 - 9, 2018
Jenessa Payano Stark, Yale School of Nursing

Mission of the ICM
“To strengthen Midwives Associations and to advance the profession of midwifery globally by promoting autonomous midwives as the most appropriate caregivers for childbearing women and in keeping birth normal, in order to enhance the reproductive health of women, their newborns and their families.”

Content and Goals of the Agenda
The main themes were quality and equity in midwifery care throughout the Americas. Some of the other themes were respectful maternity care, ending obstetrical violence, curriculum content and mapping, fostering partnerships with indigenous midwives, leadership, IUFD management, breech skills, defending the sexual and reproductive rights of women, communication with preceptors or supervising doctors, collaboration amongst Latin American midwives, and advocacy.

Some of the highlights included representatives from the WHO, UNFPA, Jhpiego, MAPFRE and FLO who discussed both regional international levels of advocacy and leadership in midwifery. Individuals included the President of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives from Canada, Cheryllee Bourgeois, vaginal breech provider Betty-Anne Daviss, the president of the Federation of Latin American Midwives, Ema Cristina Schuler Benkendorf from Chile, Ana Labandera Monteblanco, Obstetrical Director at the Women’s Hospital in Montevideo, Uruguay, Judy Cottrell, midwife and psychotherapist from New Zealand, and Cristina Alonso, founder of Luna Maya birth center in Chiapas, Mexico.

Role of Grant Recipient
Jenessa had the opportunity to interpret in real time for the president of the International Confederation of Midwives while she interacted with her constituents. Both during coffee breaks, and in formal meetings with member organizations, Jenessa provided live interpretation to improve communication and break down walls between Cadée, of The Netherlands, and the predominantly Spanish-speaking audience at the conference. Jenessa was privy to conversations that included conflicts between country organizations and other areas of contention. She felt strongly that most people walked away with a sense that the International Confederation of Midwives was listening to them and working for them in terms of advocacy. She also believes that the member organizations as a whole were committed to quality and equity and working toward these goals on a country level. When the organizations asked for support from the ICM, they were met with a willingness to issue press releases and support the member organizations in their efforts to achieve the goals of quality and equitable midwifery care in the Americas.