International midwives' day 2015

To celebrate the International Day of the Midwife, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation and the International Confederation of Midwives are rewarding 10 initiatives taken by midwives to improve the health of women and newborns. For the second year running, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) have organized the Midwives for Life Awards 2015 to reward projects run by midwives. These all aim to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and improve the health of women and newborns in countries with limited resources.

Midwives around the world have publicized their projects via the Connecting Midwives participatory platform. A selection panel composed of midwives and doctors specialized in public heath, obstetrics and gynecology from France and Africa has decided to choose 10 winning projects. The decisions are based on various criteria, including the innovative nature of the initiative, the benefit to the communities, strengthening local capacity or the capacity to replicate the project in other regions.

The 10 winning projects of the Midwives for Life Awards 2015 will receive 5,000 euros each:

  • South Africa - Robyn Sheldon. . "We can improve the quality of maternal care, making birth a unique moment, and have a positive impact on maternal and neonatal health." Her project aims to improve the working conditions of midwives so they can better assure the wellbeing of patients and prevent abuse.
  • Morocco - Saida Chaker Metalss "My experience as a midwife made me realize the importance of human relationships." Her project involved boosting the training of midwives in monitoring techniques and preparing childbirth for single mothers and women living in extreme poverty in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of Tangier.
  • Netherlands / Sierra Leone / Morocco - Franka Cadée "Twin2twin" is a network that fosters collaboration and experience-sharing among the midwives of the Netherlands, Morocco and Sierra Leone.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo - Marlene Sama "I dream of a maternity experience that everyone can have." Her project focuses on the care of neglected diseases in women in precarious situations in the South Kivu province.
  • Zambia - Bupe Mwamba "As a midwife, I am committed to promoting best practices and know-how that improve the health of mothers and babies." Her project helps expand the awareness and training of midwives in the practice of delayed clamping of the umbilical cord so as to reduce neonatal mortality.
  • Cambodia - Clémence Inguenault Schantz "Ensuring that women giving birth in developing countries have the same opportunities as those in the North: that’s how I see my job as a midwife today." Her project will enable 200 Cambodian midwives in a Phnom Penh hospital to be trained in the pathophysiology of the perineum so as to reduce the very high rate of episiotomy in Cambodia.
  • India - Delphine Wolff "Across the world, whatever the cultures and traditions, I am still driven by the same deep emotion of helping give life." Her project helps reduce maternal and neonatal mortality through participatory community education in the isolated Tamil tribes of southern India.
  • Mongolia / Japan - Kiyoko Okomoto "When I see a baby born without any complications, I still think of how it has fought to reach this day, and of the beauty of motherhood." Japanese midwives are involved in sharing their experiences to address the problems of maternal and neonatal mortality caused by obesity among pregnant women in Mongolia.
  • Vanuatu - Sandrine Camuzaux "Each day is different and every birth has its own history that we are happy to share." Her initial and continuous training project in Vanuatu will reduce the impact of a lack of perinatal care.
  • Zimbabwe - Lilian Gertrude Her project aims to promote the rights, choices and dignity of each woman throughout her pregnancy and during childbirth.

Each of the 10 midwife laureates will receive financial support of 5,000 euros on behalf of their association so as to implement their project and help improve the health of girls, women and newborns in the countries where maternal and neonatal mortality rates are still too high.

The 10 winning projects will be posted on the Connecting Midwives collaborative platform, which features a section where midwives can share experiences, ideas, projects and innovations.

Now that the Millennium Development Goals are being evaluated, and with the upcoming launch of a Sustainable Development Goals, the evidence shows that infant mortality has only been reduced by half, not by the 60% target, and the rate of maternal mortality has been reduced by only 45% instead of the 75% target. To fight effectively against these preventable deaths, the world has a greater need than ever for sufficiently numerous, well-trained midwives who are prized for their practices and efficiently distributed over national territories. That is why the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, together with the International Confederation of Midwives and all other NGO partners, is committed to support the development of 14 long-term programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America that help reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, with a budget of almost € 2.3 million a year, and which two years ago launched the Midwives for Life Awards to enhance and promote midwives initiatives.

About the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM)

The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is a federation of midwifery associations representing countries worldwide. The ICM works in close relations with the World Health Organization, UN agencies and governments to support care strategies for safe motherhood and primary healthcare for families around the world.


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