REPORT ON 31st ICM COUNCIL AND CONGRESS HELD IN TORONTO, CANADA FROM 13th to 22nd JUNE, 2017

PREPARED BY: LOUISA R.S. MUTETI and MARGARET M. NJOROGE

RATIONALE

To share the highlights of 31st ICM council meeting report and congress

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Midwives Association of Kenya (MAK) was registered in 15th July, 2016, then launched on 11/08/2016 by the cabinet secretary of ministry of health.  In line with international standards the Association applied for admission to ICM for full membership and was admitted in Nov. 2016.

To participate fully in the international midwifery arena, two delegates and two observers to the ICM COUNCIL Meeting were nominated to attend. Only delegates to the council are allowed to contribute and vote on agendas in the meeting.  Observer’s role is to sit in and listen to proceedings but have no contribution or voting rights.   However, observers can contribute to specific agendas through side discussions with their association delegates as support to the issues of interest before voting is done.

KEY LESSONS LEARNED SUMMARIES

1.     FATHERS’ ROLE IN ACHIEVING GENDER EQUALITY

Women in OECD countries spend, on average, 4.5 hours per daydoing unpaid work such as cooking and caring for children. This compares to about 2 hours for men. Even if the division of unpaid labor has become more equal over the years, women are still doing more, and this results in unequal health outcomes for everyone.

“Women, even full-time working women, spend fewer hours on average doing paid work than their husbands or partners do. That may be due in part to the fact that there’s this expectation or default arrangement where they are doing more of the child care or housework.” – Kim Parker, Pew Research Center

Fathers are interested, they want information and they do want to be close to their children. Why then are women still the ones taking on the majority of the responsibility, and what consequences does this have? According to Fisher, there is a lack of public information and services directed at the fathers. They simply don’t know about all the benefits of engaging in caring for their children.

The evidence is out there – and it’s abundant!

Everyone wins when fathers engage, both in the short and long-term:

  • A father’s testosterone levels drop after the baby is born if he is physically present with the baby (i.e. cuddling!);
  • His oxytocin levels rise and so does the baby’s;
  • Breastfeeding rates increase:
  • Maternal mortality rates reduce;
  • The mental health of mother and child improves;
  • Access to services improve
  • Violence and abuse decrease

Fisher spoke about the neurobiological impact involvement has not only on the father’s brain, but also the mother’s. Caring for babies changes the brains of both parents, and the change lasts for the rest of their lives. And the more a parent cares for their baby, the more their brain changes. As if this wasn’t evidence enough: the more the parents’ brain changes, the better the child’s social skills are when they reach school.

Margret at a Toronto

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Networking for Kenya as a country who uses technology for health promotion and continuous professional development.
  • Gathering information and strategies that can help improve reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child health and Adolescent Health services for our populations.

RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR OUR COUNTRY

  • MOH to request and get technical support for midwifery services – to address midwifery mapping, – review midwifery education programs for quality education and training for better care for the populations.
  • Carry out a benchmarking in at least three countries in order to come up with a highbred education program tailored the Kenyan context.
    • Proposed countries-South Africa– most lecturers for midwifery have undergone a masters education from South Africa, Canada- we have students there who intent to come back to serve Kenyan populations, Sweden– a country with Zero maternal death.
  • Identify ready counties and institutions for launching direct entry Midwifery education programs and in service education program for diploma and basic degree ( It is important to consider the number of available lecturers, practical mentorship during placements) to ensure maintenance of quality education and practices.
  • Review of midwifery competencies- for the lifecycle services and care yearly.
  • Formation of relevant technical teams for monitoring and evaluation of our

Progress.

  • MOH to embrace provision of community midwifery Kits for hard to reach populations for registered competent providers deployed to cover targeted communities.

-Sample contents for community midwifery for hard to reach communities

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR UNFPA AND OTHER PARTNERS

  • To facilitate the introduction of the Midwifery services framework tool order to assist MOH carry out clear assessment on midwifery mapping- legislation/regulation, education, practice  to address maternal and newborn mortality.
  • To support bench marking in order to come up with an education program that is relevant to the context.
  • To support the Young Midwife leaders forum for county mobilization on the Young Midwifery Leadership Framework -in order to develop voices for mothers and midwives at the county level.
  • To enable as well as support the growth and development of midwifery profession for quality maternal and newborn care.
  • To partner with midwives for midwives and communities for quality improvement strategy.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MIDWIVES ASSOCIATION OF KENYA

  • To plan for the growth and development of midwifery profession through relevant lobbing, advocating for implementation of necessary operational documents.
  • To source for a twinning program that can facilitate mutual benefits to the two countries in reducing maternal and newborn morbidity/mortality.
  • To support MOH to achieve the required standards of quality care through different proposal implementation to address key Gaps.
  • To facilitate as well as support institutions willing to educate, train, deploy and retain qualified midwives.
  • To develop necessary projects and programs to support / facilitate community information, education and communication for individual, family and community responsibility in demanding and receiving quality care from midwives/other care providers.
  • Provide quality care at all level according to terrain and socio-cultural contexts e.g community midwifery supported with effective referral system.

Sample of a community midwifery Kit- for home visit quality care

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