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The World Needs Midwives

By the ACNM Department of Global Outreach

The ACNM Department of Global Outreach will blog once a month about their projects in Ghana, Zambia, Burma, Namibia, and elsewhere, as well as keeping it all together back at home in the national office.

Last month’s International Day of the Midwife was an occasion for every midwife to think about the many others in the profession, to make new contacts within and outside midwifery, and to widen the knowledge of what midwives do for the world. This year’s theme was “the world needs midwives today more than ever” – a sentiment close to our hearts, and one that we work toward every day. The ACNM Department of Global Outreach (DGO)’s mission is to lead global efforts that improve health and well-being of women and infants worldwide through strengthening the profession of midwifery and building the capacity of midwives and other health professionals to serve their communities. Here is an overview of the 9 members of our far-reaching staff, and why we think the International Day of the Midwife’s continues to be important every day.

Vice President Suzanne Stalls, CNM, Program Manager Kiev Martin, and Program Coordinator Betty Goldblatt have been mainstays in the national office for years, as have CNMs Diana Beck, Angie Fujioka, and Cheryl Jemmott, working in the field. The department has expanded in the last several months to include Veronika Schlecht and Patrice White, CNM, in the national office, and Anna Maria Speciale, who is based in Spain.

Patrice and Anna Maria are the newest technical advisors, their most recent field work having taken them to Zambia to train Safe Motherhood Action Groups in Home Based Life Saving Skills. As the Program Coordinator of the Secretariat for the Survive & Thrive Global Development Alliance, Veronika works as the central point of communication for all partners of the alliance, whose work aims at increasing the utilization and impact of high-quality, high-impact maternal, newborn, and child health interventions in health facilities. Eventually she will also support volunteers deployed to Africa and Asia.

Our department’s staff, as well as our mission, is truly international. These newest members are all from different parts of the world: Patrice is from Texas, Anna Maria is from Italy, and Veronika is from Germany. Cheryl is permanently stationed in Ghana, and Suzanne flew all the way around the globe during the month of March – twice. Kiev is from Cambodia and Betty spent 2 years in Guatemala with the Peace Corps. These disparate backgrounds crystallize into a unique departmental perspective on global health as a systemic and human rights issue which takes people at every level to improve.

What messages would we like to share beyond last month’s one-day event? That nearly 300,000 women and over 3 million infants die each year as a result of preventable pregnancy and childbirth complications. That we must work together to address issues of safe motherhood. That women need to continue to support each other on maternal health and family planning issues. That midwifery is an important profession worldwide because it empowers women to support each other during childbirth and to form a strong relationship in a health facility or private home. That a midwife can provide comfort and technical knowledge in challenging situations and critical cultural circumstances. That the world needs midwives now more than ever – we can all agree with that.

Posted By Barbra Elenbaas | 6/5/2013 12:29:54 PM



Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual participant(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. ACNM is not responsible for accuracy of any of the information provided by guest bloggers and/or members via the Comments section. We welcome all feedback – including comments, ideas and suggestions. We also welcome civil, friendly debates. However, any and all content that is deemed inflammatory or rude will not be posted.


American College of Nurse-Midwives.
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