Midwives united: technology as the conduit

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am writing this editorial conscious of the fact that manyof you will be at the triennial congress of the ICM in Praguewhen it is published. As midwives of the world unite forthis face-to-face contact and sharing of the knowledge,skill and art of midwifery, I encourage you to reflect onthe current role of the midwife in Nepal, as depicted in thepaper by Erlandsson et al (2014) in this edition of EBM.It will become clear how important it is for women to becared for by trained, dedicated professionals and why theprofessionalisation, legislation and statutory position ofmidwifery that exists in the UK is the envy of so many acrossthe world.It is easy for those in the UK to underestimate the valueof the RCM and the NMC. I believe we do not appreciatethe underpinning structure provided by such organisations,because they are the status quo for us. Their roles insupporting professional practice and public protectionare mostly invisible and we cannot fully comprehend theircontribution to midwifery practice, education and researchunless we experience being a midwife in a country wherethere is no legislated government input into professionalhealthcare practice.This has become a stark reality for me during the past 12months, as I worked with a team of experts on a UNICEFproject. I met outstanding midwives, nurses and doctorswho were working extremely hard to achieve some of thepolitical and professional strength that is evident within theUK healthcare system.I also met mothers living in adverse conditions that seemedinsurmountable. Their resilience had a halo effect and I wasconsumed by their strength and calm way of just being. Inthe midst of scenes of riches, or scenes of poverty, my senseswere finely tuned to the sound of mobile phones and, insome cases, not one per person, but two.It was revelatory as the key to unlocking the potential forcommunicating health and wellbeing messages was ringingin my ears. At one high school, every hand in the classroomwent up when I asked if they had mobile phones. This singlepoint of access is, for me, the key to future communicationsat an unprecedented level.I will keep pushing myself and others to make effective useof technology to further our cause to achieve good. We needto make technology work for midwives across the world aswe unify and personalise care for mothers and babies in apositive and health benefiting manner.Technology has the power to unite yet it remains underusedby us. Can we not learn from the marketing companieswho use technology creatively; with crowdsource fundingbeing one of the latest ways in which to obtain money?We need to adopt their policies and practice and maketechnology work for public health and wellbeing gain. Weneed to use the ‘seedling’ approach to maximising our healthand wellbeing messages at a global level, midwives visiblypresent, ‘health information for all’ style. Perhaps Prague isthe place and the time for the midwives of the world to takea stand for e-connect and eUNity? Maybe this is the year inwhich we will consciously start to use technology to improvethe health of mothers and babies and share our evidencebase, knowledge and experiences by e-sharing?It is timely that the RCM i-learn and i-folio have just beengiven a facelift, with a new platform following a recordachievement of 8000 users since its launch in 2010 (Hunteret al, 2014). The technology is providing a platform forshared learning, personalised learning and global learning.However, regardless of all the technology available to us,we need to use it appropriately and be fully cognisant of theimportance of talking face to face on matters such as therole and training of skilled birth attendants (SBAs). On thisimportant subject, we must have clarity and it is the triplicateor Trinitarian voice of midwives, nurses and doctors that isessential for a future where birthing women, regardless ofcountry, ethnicity or financial status, will have full access tothe minimum standards of care in labour and birth that willbe delivered by SBAs. Please note: the definition of SBA, asdefined by Erlandsson et al (2014: 59), is multi-professionaland inclusive: ‘physicians, certified nurses, auxiliary nursemidwives,or degree-trained nurses…’Modern technology provides a communication platformfor midwives, women, families and politicians. It offersaccess to a repository of social media, visualisation, crowdsourcing and more new and emerging technologies thatprovide unprecedented opportunities for unification at aglobal level. For example, major change at UK governmentlevel is evident with the publication of documents suchas Midwifery 2020 (DH, 2010), and NICE consultationdocument on intrapartum care (NICE, 2014). Making thekey messages from documents such as these available indifferent languages as info-bites or info-sights that becomeseedlings is our dissemination challenge. Let’s start to maketechnology work for us at the ICM in Prague.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39
JournalEvidence Based Midwifery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Jun 2014


  • Midwifery regulation
  • technology
  • eUNity
  • evidence-based midwifery


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