CAM congratulates our partners, the South Sudan Nursing and Midwifery Association (SSNAMA), UNFPA, and the Government of South Sudan on passing a great milestone for midwifery in the country. On March 6, 2018, the South Sudanese Ministry of Health took a historic step in announcing the establishment of an Interim Regulations and Registration Committee for midwifery and nursing in South Sudan. It is the first step in regulating the professions. Two members of SSNAMA will hold seats on this committee, alongside key stakeholders from the Ministry of Health and Civil Society.
“Trust between the midwife and the community is so important”
As the draft Midwifery and Nursing Act moves through parliament, SSNAMA and other partners have been advocating for the bill and for the establishment of a regulatory council. This was a key advocacy point at the recent National Conference in November 2017. Over 400 nurses and midwives gathered for the conference including CAM Midwives Kelly Chisholm and Beverly O’Brien, as well as inter-national representatives from ICM and midwifery associations from neighboring countries. The visitors lent their voice to the call for regulation.
The interim body will be responsible for laying the ground work for regulation in South Sudan. It will begin to determine the qualifications to be a midwife, start building the framework for accrediting training institutions and establish continued professional development activities. These activities are the cornerstone of building trust between midwives and communities.
“Trust between the midwife and the community is so important,” notes CAM Global Director Emmanuelle Hebert. “In a context, like South Sudan, where the majority of women will not have a skilled birth attendant present with them during labour, promoting midwifery means establishing trust. When a woman goes to a midwife, she needs to feel that the midwife is going to be able to help her, otherwise why would she go?”
In the Strengthening Midwifery Services in South Sudan Phase II Project, which is lead by UNFPA and funded by Global Affairs Canada, CAM has the unique opportunity to work with our SSNAMA colleagues at this historic moment for midwives in that country. For Canadian midwives, CAM’s global work provides an opportunity to exchange skills with their peers around the world. For CAM members it is also about being part of the global midwifery community and the movement to bring quality midwifery care to women world wide. As such, our Global work is guided by the ICM pillars of regulation, association, and education, and the three go hand in hand.
South Sudan is the world’s newest country, and so the implications of that for legislation and civil society building cannot be overstated. South Sudan is in the process of forming the legislative and health systems landscape for the country. At independence in 2011, there were less then 10 midwives in the country, and no regulation related to midwifery. The South Sudanese Nurse and Midwifery Association was launched in 2011 and has grown to have over 600 members. Since it’s inception, SSNAMA has advocated for the regulation of midwifery in the country.