UCLan staff nominated for national midwifery awards

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University duo recognised for work to help develop midwifery services in India

Two midwifery staff members at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been nominated for a national award following their work to help develop and strengthen midwifery services in India.

Elizabeth Gomez and Professor Soo Downe, who are both members of UCLan’s School of Community Health and Midwifery, have been shortlisted in the Royal College of Midwives Awards for the Excellence in Midwifery, Education, Learning and Research Award Category.

This follows pioneering work undertaken by both staff members, and by the wider UCLan midwifery team, to help further improve professional midwifery services available to mothers in India.

Through on-line teaching and close partnership working with the Fernandez Hospitals Foundation in Hyderabad in India, UCLan has been instrumental in setting up a new education programme for professional midwives in the country.

Liz and I and the whole midwifery team at UCLan are delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award which is recognition of the impact of our work to help develop and strengthen the professional midwifery workforce in India.

Currently in India nearly 32,000 women a year lose their lives through the pregnancy and birth process. In addition, 590,000 new-born babies are estimated to die in the first month of life (SRS 2014-2016). Further details can be found here.

UCLan initially developed a Curriculum for the International Midwifery Educators (IMEs) who went out to India in September 2019. The IMEs, supported by UCLan and the team at Fernandez, are now creating an International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and India Nursing Council (INC) compliant training programme for midwifery educators across the country. This, it is hoped, will lead to an increase in the number of professional midwives supporting mothers in India.

The awards ceremony will be held in London on May 5, the International Day of the Midwife.

Soo Downe, who is the Professor of Midwifery at UCLan’s School of Community Health and Midwifery, said  “Liz and I and the whole midwifery team at UCLan are delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award which is recognition of the impact of our work to help develop and strengthen the professional midwifery workforce in India.

“We are also very pleased that we have been able to build on the outstanding contribution of our partners in India, the Fernandez Foundation”.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “In this the International Year of the Midwife it is wonderful to see so many high-quality entries for the RCM Awards. The standard has been incredibly high and to get this far is an outstanding achievement.

 ”Being shortlisted shows that midwives, maternity support workers and their colleagues are innovating and never standing still to deliver even better care for women, babies and their families. This is midwifery leadership in action.

 ‘’I wish Elizabeth and Soo the best of luck at the awards ceremony in May on International Day of the Midwife.’’

Tim Fernandez | 10 March 2020