Finding myself a quiet spot in this beautiful place called East London, of course it is in the dunes close to the beach. Nahoon Reef. I just attended the 12th annual Society of Midwives of South Africa (SOMSA) congress and what a week it was! Need to reflect and process, need to use this moment and write things down. Being a midwife and South Africa and not part of a midwife association has bothered me for a while so this year I decided to register and become a member, go to their congress to find out what they are about. As always it is better to find out for yourself and not go on other peoples opinions. To make it worth my while, I decided to submit the abstract of my research and got a slot to speak. And was it worth it…!
The theme for this year was ‘Midwives changing South Africa – one family at a time’. Busisiwe Kunene, SOMSA’s president said that this can only happen if you commit to be a change agent. ‘Only you can make a difference for women and babies to have quality care and better lives. You cab craft South African lives through your hands and make it to be of better value. It is through your wise word that women can make better informed choices, through your skilled actions that cost saving in the health system can be measurable. You serve almost tow thirds of women giving birth. You are the pillar of eternal health care service in this country. Come let us join our heads together and work towards changing South Africa one family at a time in a spirit of true cooperation while being proud of being midwives irrespective of everything else…’
The call went out, loud and clear the we need to invest in our midwives. That we need to return to the heart of midwifery. So encouraging to hear Gods heart for the midwives come through in so many devotions and presentations. We as midwives have a mandate from God, it’s a calling and we need to make our labour wards a holy place. He know the plans He has for us, fear not. UNFPA said: ‘We need to increase the numbers and enhance the quality of their services. Strong political commitment and investment in midwifery is a must to save thousands of lives every day. Today and every day, we need to close the gaps in providing universal sexual and reproductive, maternal and newborn health care. No woman should die while giving birth to life’. The State of Midwifery 2014 report documents these gabs and points the way forward.
There were key note speakers such as the minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, the ICM deputy president, Dr. Adress Malata, the SANC register, Thandi Manganese and so many more. The academic level was good too, with great presentations of research done by midwives and also practical work sessions like the ‘Help Baby’s Breathe’ initiative. The overall message that came through is that we are on our way strengthening our profession in this country, we are moving forward. I am encouraged in the fact that there are people with vision, people that understand what a true midwife should look like. Much work is still to be done and I am committed. SOMSA has a new committed member and I trust all midwives will follow. It’s time to unite and have a voice, to bring change in South Africa, one family at a time.
Featured Image: Midwives Society