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Use leadership principles to make a difference: UNFPA to midwives

The acting UNFPA executive director has urged midwives to use their leadership principles to make a “difference” in the world.

“Midwives are trusted leaders in the community. They are ready, willing and able to help, the first part of the leadership principles,” Dr Natalia Kanem said on Monday, speaking at a plenary at the ongoing ICM congress in Toronto.

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She said they are also “creative and caring” when it comes to doing their job. “Using all those principles, they make a difference in the world.”

The 31st International Confederation of Midwives’ or ICM Triennial Congress, the biggest event on the midwifery calendar, began officially on Sunday with a colourful display highlighting their works that “make a difference.”

Over 4000 midwives, medical practitioners, obstetricians, gynaecologists, health care professionals, governments, policy makers along with UN agencies, international non-government organisations and donors from all over the world have convened this time in the congress that will end on June 22.

The ICM has representations in 113 countries.

They will share and learn, network and interact with each other’s work on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights globally, and gain new knowledge and latest evidence in midwifery practice, education and research.

The 2017 Congress will present a new agenda and challenges, in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott on Monday announced new funding for the midwifery profession of her country recognising the remarkable difference that midwives make in the lives of mothers, babies and families.

Of the new $828 million commitment for the next five years to improve the health outcomes of the people in the First Nations and Inuit communities, $83 million is dedicated to maternal and child health including $6 million to support culturally-safe midwifery in communities.

“I am very proud to announce this funding to improve access to much-needed midwifery services in First Nations and Inuit communities,” she said at the congress.

“I believe it is vital to support midwifery care which will bring traditional birthing practices back to these communities, better support mothers and their babies and build strong families”.

The UNFPA executive director in her speech appreciated Canada for the announcement and urged countries to follow Canada for developing the midwifery profession.

She also stressed on the need of midwives for achieving two goals of the SDGs — goal 3 which is health related and goal 5 which is for gender equality.

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