Over 4000 midwives from over 110 countries attended the 2017 ICM Congress. On June 17, thousands of midwives took to the streets of Toronto to march for improved healthcare for mothers and babies. Their message? Midwives are primary health care providers. They provide life-saving care to pregnant people and newborns around the world. Reproductive health is a human right. The world needs more midwives.
Canada’s Minister of Health Jane Philpott addresses an auditorium full of midwives from around the world during the 2017 ICM Triennial Congress in Toronto. Minister Philpott explained what she and the Canadian government are seeking to change in Canada’s health system, with the help of Canadian midwives. She also explained that the Assembly of First Nations in Canada has a health transformation agenda that specifically calls on governments to work with First Nations to support the development of Indigenous midwifery programs including training programs for indigenous midwives.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development Celina Caesar-Chavannes announces to attendees of the 31st ICM Triennial Congress that Canada has committed 650 million dollars to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights over the next three years and that the Canadian government will invest an additional 100 million dollars over five years to respond to the needs of local women’s organizations in developing countries. Within five years, investments and programs that specifically target gender equality and the empowerment of women will represent 15% of Canada’s bilateral development assistance.
Midwives from across Canada joined together to sing for their fellow midwives from around the world. Listen to them as they sing Amazing Birth, an adaptation of Amazing Grace, during the opening ceremony of the Toronto ICM Congress.
Metis midwives Heather Heinrichs and Nathalie Pambrun speak at ICM 2017 of Indigenous midwifery, the evolution of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) and the inequities that exist in Canada. The workshop, whose theme was ‘Developing Effective Midwifery Associations’, attracted Indigenous midwives from various regions of Canada as well as from countries such as Mexico and Peru.