PRAGUE, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Prague hosted some 3,500 delegates attending the 30th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives, the largest event of its kind, during June 1-5.
The theme of this year's conference was "Midwives: Improving Women's Health Globally", and aimed to emphasise the importance of maternal health.
The program included plenary sessions and symposiums, as well as presentations by experts from all over the world, which focused on a wide range of topics, including public health, clinical health and women in the workforce.
There were also many practical and hands-on workshops and meetings.
Midwives play a crucial role in the care of mother and child before, during and after birth, and thus are an important part of any program aiming to promote the health of mothers and babies.
According to Australian attendee of the congress, Dr. Angela Dawson, PhD., of the WHO Collaborating Centre at the University of Technology Sydney, there is an economic reason for investing in midwifery.
"Investing in midwives has been found to yield a sixteen-fold return on investment in terms of lives saved and costs of expensive medical interventions," said Dawson.
"Bringing midwives together to share lessons learned and promote evidence-based practice is not only essential to improving quality service delivery but to advocate for a continued political and financial commitment to supporting midwives to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths," said Dawson.
One important step taken at the conference was the launch of the State of the World's Midwifery 2014 Report produced by WHO, UNFPA and the International Confederation of Midwives.
This document outlines 73 countries with severe midwifery workforce deficits and high maternal deaths.
According to Dr. Dawson, the document "highlights great gaps and inequities and is a clarion call for governments to commit more resources."
The next congress will be held in Toronto, Canada, in 2017.