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United States Midwives Gather in South Africa to Tackle Maternal Mortality and Morbidity

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2011

Contact: Melissa Garvey
Office: (240) 485-1826
Email: mgarvey@acnm.org

Silver Spring, MD – Hundreds of midwives from the United States will join with colleagues from around the world today to call for an end to preventable deaths of women and infants during pregnancy and childbirth. This is the first time the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has held a Congress in Africa in the organization’s 92 year history. The location has been chosen to highlight the disproportionate levels of maternal mortality in low resource countries – in particular Africa.

Starting with a 5km solidarity walk in Durban South Africa on June 18, US midwives will meet with around 3000 global midwifery colleagues, health practitioners, and policy makers, at the International Confederation of Midwives’ Triennial Congress, to demonstrate their solidarity in tackling inequalities in maternal mortality. Congress delegates from the United States will spend four days exchanging their knowledge and experience and learning from global midwifery experts about best practice in tackling the five major clinical causes of maternal mortality.

Delegates at the ICM Congress in Durban will also be the first audience for the findings of a major global report on the state of the world’s midwifery. A year in the making, Delivering Health, Saving Lives will present an overview of the number, skills level, and distribution of life-saving midwives in those countries which experience the highest rates of maternal death. The report will be launched by the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund for Health Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, ICM President Bridget Lynch, and Malawian midwife advocate Lennie Kanvvendo.

Midwives from the United States will also be among the first to learn about updated competencies for midwifery practice and new global standards for the education and regulation of competent midwives.

“For the first time we have the evidence of need, evidence of what works, and the tools we need to tackle maternal mortality. The Delivering Health, Saving Lives report will provide vital information about what is needed in those countries where mothers pay the heaviest price for giving life. ICM’s new global standards for midwifery education and regulation delivers the missing piece in the jigsaw by providing an essential tool for governments and policymakers committed to addressing key deficiencies in health care provision to childbearing women and babies,” said Bridget Lynch, ICM president.

More information about the International Confederation of Midwives and the Durban Congress can be found at http://www.internationalmidwives.org/.

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For more information, please contact Melissa Garvey, ACNM Communications Manager at (240) 485-1826 or via e-mail at mgarvey@acnm.org.

With roots dating to 1929, the American College of Nurse-Midwives is the oldest women's health care association in the United States. ACNM's mission is to promote the health and well-being of women and newborns within their families and communities through the development and support of the profession of midwifery as practiced by certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives. Midwives believe every individual has the right to safe, satisfying health care with respect for human dignity and cultural variations. More information about ACNM can be found at www.midwife.org.

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