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International Midwifery Symposium

1 April 2015

Midwifery International conference March
Conference speakers (back row from left to right) Professor Billie Hunter (Cardiff University), Lynn Lynch MBE (Cardiff University), Sarah Davies (Cardiff University), Grace Thomas (Cardiff University), front row Dr Dianne Watkins (Cardiff University), Dr Edna Adan Ismail (Edna Adan University Hospital Somaliland) Frances McConville (World Health Organisation), Professor Jean White Chief Nursing Officer for Wales (Welsh Government)

School of Healthcare Sciences staff, associates and honorary fellows presented papers at an International Midwifery event, which took place at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff on Friday 27th March 2015.

Around 75 people attended the inaugural International Midwifery conference, which focused on the collaboration between the School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe.

Professor Jean White Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, Welsh Governmentpresented findings on the Welsh Perspective on International Health and the Welsh Government's Wales for Africa project.  The devolved legal powers of the Welsh Government determine that international development activities must provide a benefit both to the project country and to Wales. This ensures that supported activities are based on genuine partnership, with both sides gaining from the interaction.

Frances McConville, Technical Officer, Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, World Health Organisation (WHO) presented an overview of WHO maternity and newborn health strategies, her midwifery leadership role within the organisation and the collaboration with the School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University.  She expressed her pleasure about the new WHO Collaborative Centre and looked forward to future developments.  Frances also visited midwifery services within University Hospital of Wales, with midwifery lecturers Lynn Lynch and Libby Baraz, and commented on their "gold standard" of care that is provided for women and their babies.

Dr Dianne Watkins College Dean International, Reader Deputy Head of School Director of International Engagementpresented an outline on international collaborations with governments, businesses and universities that have been established by Cardiff University and the global opportunities accessible to our students.

Nicola Pulman Project Managerpresented on the Phoenix Project, this is one of Cardiff University's five Flagship Engagement Projects and part of Cardiff University's International and Engagement programme identified in The Way Forward 2012-2017.  The focus is on sub Saharan Africa and is a five year project led by Professor Judith Hall, School of Medicine.  It aims to collaborate with one or two sub Saharan African universities providing opportunities for shared learning and development potentially across all university departments.  A partnership with Namibia is currently being developed.

Sarah Davies Lecturer in Midwifery, presented 'Interventions to reduce maternal mortality in developing countries'.  Sarah has travelled and participated in numerous projects overseas and most recently with a charity called Mothers of Africa led by Professor Judith Hall.  Sarah has trained and educated carers and traditional birth attendants to recognise early risks in mothers in sub Saharan Africa and to encourage them to use the facilities available to them.

Professor Billie Hunter RCM Professor of Midwifery & Lynn Lynch MBE (WHO support & Lecturer in Midwifery), WHO Collaborating Centre for Midwifery 'Our story so far'

As a key institution Cardiff University received an invitation by the World Health Organisation Europe to become a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Midwifery in Europe. This will be led by Professor Billie Hunter and will contribute to the WHO Europe Human Resources for Health programme.  Cardiff University is the only midwifery specific collaborating centre in Europe.

This collaboration has now commenced a 2 year probation period, with the aim of achieving full designation in 2016.  The Centre will contribute to WHO priorities to scale up and transform midwifery and nursing education, ensure that care is evidence based and to develop patient centred care.

Dr Edna Adan Ismail Founder and CEO Edna Adan University Hospital and Chancellor, Edna Adan University, Hargeisa, Somaliland and Honorary Fellow of Cardiff University

Edna described her outstanding work in establishing the Edna Adan University Hospital in Somaliland. This is now a major referral facility and teaching hospital for midwives, nurses and other health professionals, including medical students and anaesthesia technicians.  Edna told the audience how the health of the people of Somaliland is among the worst in Africa and that it has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world.  This is attributed mainly to the long civil war which brought about the death or departure of nearly all the country's trained health care professionals.  However, as a result of Edna's commitment to improving maternity care provision and training, mortality rates have fallen significantly.  Another important goal of Edna's is to fight the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which is endemic throughout this region.  Edna's presentation resulted in a standing ovation.

Grace Thomas Professional Head of Midwifery and Lead Midwife for Education / Associate Director of Student Experience and Academic Standards chaired the conference and commented that

"the buzz in the lecture theatre is absolutely fantastic and I am so, so privileged today to have so manydynamic, prestigious women in the room.   To be in a room with so many inspirational women, is amazing, these women have a passion, a passion to care and a passion to make the lives of women and families across the world better"

"A fantastic event showcasing Cardiff University and all involved in midwifery in Wales and worldwide.  Helping to adopt new links through the newly formed European Collaboration Centre"

3rd year midwifery student Maryanne Bray

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