1500 ANMs and Facilitators from all over the Country converged at Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Delhi from 10-12 July, 2015 for the ANMs' National Convention, a first of its kind, to discuss their issues related to career, performance and welfare.
The Convention was organised by ANSWERS (Academy for Nursing Studies and Women’s Empowerment Research Studies) in partnership with the Society of Midwives, India ( SOMI), National Alliance for Maternal Health & Human Rights(NAMHHR) and Human Rights & Law Network (HRLN )
ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwives) are front-line public health personnel catering to the needs of the most vulnerable groups – mothers and children - in rural, tribal, and remote areas. ANMs are the only technically trained providers available to women for information, counselling and guidance in critical health situations such as malnutrition, reproductive disorders, abortion, contraception, newborn care.
The career of ANMs has not moved forward over the last 50 years. There is no upward post that links ANMs working in the field to programme management and policy making levels at state and central levels. The needs, problems, career and welfare of ANMs go unnoticed and unattended.
The goal of the ANMs’ National Convention was to raise ANMs’ awareness about their role in peripheral primary health care, strengthen their collective voice, and enhance their professional accountability. The purpose is to transmit their concerns to the Government and to related organizations and agencies; build morale of ANMs; and, enhance their skills for the benefit of women and children in rural areas and urban slums. SOMI was an active Partner in the Convention. SOMI played a significant role in mobilizing ANMs and Facilitators through its Chapters in different parts of the country. SOMI also organized a National Consultation in Delhi on the urgent need for midwives in India prior to the Convention.
A National Consultation on the urgent need for midwives in India was organized by Society for Midwives, India (SOMI) on 5th May 2015 at New Delhi to focus on strengthening midwives in the periphery and institutions. Midwives from different parts of India participated first ever consultation.
Midwives cater to the needs of women and their babies at the most vulnerable periods in their lives. Today, families moving to hospitals for childbirth expect that the mother and baby will be safer because they assume that hospitals, especially government hospitals, have highly qualified and skilled professionals. Unfortunately this is not the reality. Even today about a fifth of the two crore childbirths in India are not assisted by professionally trained midwives even in hospitals.
Ms. Bandana Das, President of SOMI stressed that every normal birth should be attended by a qualified midwife. Releasing the Position Statement of the Organization on Midwife and midwifery, she said that ANMs are primary midwives in the community and that their skills should be strengthened to identify risk and save life. She further said that the current rotation type posting of midwives in hospitals does not allow them to retain and develop skills that are critical for saving the life of mother and baby. Participating ANM’s objected to the use of word Auxilliary Nurse in their designation as they were critical functions at the remote corners.
Participants included ANM leaders Buluma Saikia and Kamleshwari Methi from Assam; Krishna from Haryana, Nirmala from Tamilnadu, Kalpana Mandal from West Bengal and Sahira Banu from Puducherry.
Advocacy- to improve Labour Rooms
The proportion of childbirths taking place in institutions has been steadily rising over the last decade in India due to government efforts and increasing public awareness. However, the facilities have not been improving at the same rate. SOMI's advocacy aimed to improve the Labour Room in all government health facilities so that every birth takes place in a safe environment, in skilled hands and in a sensitive manner.
This message for Safe, Skilled and Sensitive child birth was communicated to all parts of the country through its Chapters and across many countries through the network of the International Confederation of Midwives( ICM)
In order to strengthen SOMI in the states of the North East Region and to conduct workshops as part of dissemination of the YLDP program, the executives of SOMI along with Dr.Prakasamma visited Meghalaya on 24th and 25th June 2013 and addressed the students and faculty of College of Nursing, NEIGRIHMS in Shillong. A unit of SOMI was created in presence of the Principal-in charge , Medical Suptd and Director of NEIGRIHMS. Forty eight members registered in Meghalaya facilitated the program
Post- YLDP workshops in Kalimpong and Kurseong
These workshops were organized by the Young trainees who had attended the Young Leaders Development Programme early June 2013 at Peddapur. The workshop was mainly organized by Sujala Mukhia, ANM Kurseong Sub-Divisional Hospital, and Chandrika Rai, GNM –North Bengal Medical College &Hospital Siliguri with the guidance and support from Mala Mothey, Sister Tutor-Darjeeling District Hospital. This workshop was organized on 27th & 28 June 2013 in Kurseong & Kalimpong. Around 20 ANMs attended the workshop. A SOMI unit was also formed in Kalimpong with 10 members.
The SOMI Lamp for Safe Motherhood (Midwives’lamp for Mothers) was conceptualized as a traditional lamp with the SOMI LOGO standing on it. The logo symbolized the close link between the terms motherhood and midwifery. Women need midwives, and midwives are themselves women.The lamp travelled to 27 cities across 21 states and reached out to thousands of mothers, staff nurses, ANM’s, community health workers and midwives . As the lamp passed from one hand to the other, each Chapter added their own twist to the campaign by coming up with creative ways of reaching the message to the different stakeholders of safe motherhood- Government, mothers , midwives, media etc. Though each presented their own view of the campaign, they were amazingly united by the flame of the Midwives’ lamp
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