Yesterday I made the journey from my home in Warwick, England to Toronto, Canada to join other midwives from all over the world for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Triennial Congress. From the start I was linking up with other midwives. I sat next to Regina from Zimbabwe on the plane and shared my train journey from Toronto airport into the city centre with these two lovely midwives Octavia and Teresa from London. Both will be presenting and I am hoping to see more of them over the next few days.
I arrived at my hotel and put some cooler clothes on as it was hot, humid weather. I found my travel kettle and tea bags and made a quick cuppa. I can’t do without tea! So I have set up the essentials in my room. I had rememberd that hotels only supply coffee makers in these parts. Ah, there is only a disposable cup in the room! I must buy something more substantial to make my cuppa in today. I guess I like my home comforts.
Then with map in hand I headed straight for the Start of the March for Midwives and arrived just to as around 4000 midwives were setting off from Roundhouse Park. It was a wonderful coming-together with midwives from all parts of the world. We bought Toronto to a standstill. Thank to the Toronto Police for their organisation and support.
We marched through the city and sang, waved our flags and chanted our message: that the world desperately needs more midwives. I caught up with some of the UK contingency.
I also talked to midwives from Canada, Australia, Jamaica, Belgium, Brazil and Laos (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laos) to name just a few.
Midwives save lives. In places where women have free access to midwifery care and where midwives are valued and free to practise autonomously within a healthcare system, maternal and neonatal outcomes improve. See the Lancet series on Midwifery for the evidence for this http://www.thelancet.com/series/midwifery . This will be a key theme over the conference. But there is so much going on and so many midwives sharing their learning from their research, practise and education.
Over the next few days I want to give a flavour of what is happening at this conference. I want midwives and others who cannot attend to feel part of this community and share in the learning. I aim to blog at the end of each day to report highlights.
Thank you for reading.