Midwifery conference discusses future of global childbirth healthcare

Posted on Friday, February 7 2014

Midwifery conference posters

An international conference exploring the challenges facing maternal and newborn health worldwide has taken place at Bournemouth University.

The conference, organised by Bournemouth University (BU), looked at the international health issues facing those giving birth and their newborn babies and aims to influence the global agenda for the next 15 years.

Professor in Midwifery at BU Vanora Hundley, who has helped to organise the conference, said: “Midwifery should be the backbone of universal access to reproductive health services.”

The conference, called Midwifery and the post MDG Agenda, comes as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations end in 2015.

Two of these MDGs focused on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, and the conference will look at what has been achieved so far, and what still needs to be done.

Dr Zoe Sheppard, from BU’s Clinical Research Unit, said: “The MDGs helped focus attention on reproductive health and rights over the past 14 years.

“Now we need make sure we set challenging but achievable targets for the next 15 years.”

Delegates at the conference were encouraged by speakers to promote access to pregnancy- and birth-related healthcare for all women worldwide, regardless of economic situation or country of birth.

The conference also included a poster exhibition hall that displayed the latest research taking place in the field of midwifery. Posters included information on midwifery in poorer countries, such at Sheetal Sharma’s (pictured) poster on midwifery in Nepal.

Speakers at the one-day conference included Dr Neil Squires, from the Department for International Development (DFID), and Brigid McConville from the White Ribbon Alliance, a non-profit organisation which campaigns for safe birth worldwide.