There are going to be at least two really exciting conferences looking at maternal health issues this summer, which are well timed given the debate and attention this issue is expected to receive at the upcoming G8 and G20 conferences.  I wanted to pass the information along:

In June, the Women Deliver conference will be held in Washington, DC.  More of an advocacy event than a research event, it promises to be a really great and exciting event.
At the end of August, the Maternal Health Taskforce and the Public Health Foundation of India will be hosting a research conference in New Delhi.  The sessions look really interesting.

Sadly, as a woman that will be delivering this summer (35 weeks and counting), I probably won’t be able to make it to either of these events this summer (although I am still holding out hope for the August conference).  So if you go, you have to promise to tell me all about it!

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2 Responses to “Two great upcoming conferences on maternal health”

  1. Alanna says:

    I'll be at Women Deliver and blogging intensely!

  2. Kate de Rivero (WAHA International) says:

    Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) International will be attending these conferences – both of which promise to be excellent opportunities for sharing innovative ideas, research findings, lessons learned and generally pushing critical maternal health issues up the wider policy agenda.

    I'd like to highlight another upcoming conference that is being co-organised by Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) International and National Midwife Associations in Central and West Africa.

    The First International Conference for Midwives in West and Central Africa will take place in Benin next week (18th-19th May) and will be attended by representatives from national midwife associations from around 18 countries in the region as well as UNFPA. The theme of the conference is "The Role of Midwives in the Prevention and Early Treatment of Obstetric Fistula". The conference will provide a unique opportunity to discuss the issues and challenges that midwives face in realising their potential to help reduce the appalling affliction of fistula in their countries – and will hopefully result in a new impetus to embrace simple techniques such as the Foley catheter, which may be our best weapon to prevent new cases from occuring in the future!

    Let me also give you some more information about our organisation: WAHA International works in collaboration with local partners, including university teaching hospitals and health professionals associations, to implement fistula treatment and care projects in Africa and Asia. Over the last 12 months, we have provided surgeons, conducted training, and donated equipment and materials to hospitals in Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Somaliland, Ethiopia and Nigeria. In the coming two months, we'll also be operating in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Eritrea. (Details of our projects can be seen on http://www.waha-international.org and http://www.facebook.com/waha-international)

    As well as training surgeons to treat fistula, we believe that it is essential to put more focus on fistula prevention, if we are to achieve the dream of eliminating obstetric fistula in the future.

    Midwives can play a major role here, by promoting access to emergency obstetric care and by encouraging early diagnosis and referral to fistula treatment where it is available. Midwives could have a potentially huge impact on reducing the number of new cases each year by encouraging the systematic use of Foley catheters when a new case of fistula occurs.

    Data from one of the world's most experienced fistula surgeons, Dr Kees Waaldjik, at the Nigerian National Fistula Treatment Project (supported by WAHA) and President of the International Society of Fistula Surgeons has shown that the use of catheters after the initial onset of fistula can cure an astounding 25% of all new cases, without the need for complicated, expensive and largely unavailable surgical treatment!

    This simple intervention that can be implemented by midwives could have a major impact in the reducing the burden of fistula worldwide if it was more widely adopted. We're hoping that the First International Conference for Midwives in West and Central Africa will help this simple intervention be better known and more widely adopted by midwives across the region.

    We'll be posting daily updates from the conference on our website as it gets underway!

    http://www.waha-international.org

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