PHILADELPHIA—CGFNS International, Inc., the world’s most established credentials assessment organization for nurses and health professionals, is establishing a new division to provide qualifications assessments for the midwifery profession.
In preparation, CGFNS and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) have partnered to create a new committee to assess the credentials of midwives against global standards. Midwives, educated to international standards, provide essential care to women and newborns across the entire childbearing continuum, from homes and communities to hospitals and even in the most difficult humanitarian, fragile and conflict-affected settings.
According to the United National Population Fund, qualified midwives could provide 87 percent of all essential health services to expectant or new families. Evidence also shows that where midwifery care includes proven interventions for maternal and newborn health as well as family planning, over 80 percent of all maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths could be averted.
The combined effort will support the creation of the new division within CGFNS, the Commission for International Midwifery Graduates, and harmonize ICM’s Global Standards with CGFNS’ operational efforts to help support the mobility of qualified midwives.
“I welcome this opportunity to recognize the qualifications and valuable contributions of midwives to maternal and child health worldwide,” said Franklin A. Shaffer, EdD, RN, FAAN, FFNMRCSI, President and CEO of CGFNS International. Dr. Shaffer will co-chair CGFNS’ Professional Midwife Standards and Credentials Committee with ICM CEO Dr. Sally Pairman to develop the CGFNS approach to assessing qualifications and standards of midwives seeking recognition in other jurisdictions.
“The opportunity for ICM to collaborate with CGFNS allows, for the first time, a global process for assessing midwives’ qualifications and competencies against international standards and through which regulators can be assured that midwives seeking registration from other jurisdictions meet international standards. Midwifery is one of the world’s oldest health professions and there is overwhelming research evidence that care from qualified midwives not only saves lives, but also improves health outcomes for mothers and their newborns. We look forward to working closely with CGFNS International and its experts on this initiative that will bring us another step closer to pregnant women everywhere being able to access fully qualified midwives for care during the childbirth continuum,” Dr. Pairman said.
The Professional Midwife Standards and Credentials Committee will help set, advise on and review the global standards for education, entry level competencies, and scope of practice for midwives at the optimal level for safe practice and quality outcomes, as well as guide the comparability evaluation of midwives’ education, licensure, and practice according to those standards. The Committee will also provide guidance on the evaluation of applications that pose unusual circumstances and serve as the appeals committee for midwifery assessments.
The Division’s standards for credential and education assessment of midwives are expected to reflect the ICM’s Global Standards for Midwifery Education and Regulation and the ICM Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice. Nearly half of the world’s midwives work in the 73 countries where most of the world’s maternal and newborn mortality occurs.
“Often the only qualified professional present at births around the world, midwives are truly lifesavers who also provide critical health services beyond delivering babies,” Dr. Shaffer said. “As primary health practitioners, midwives work with women and families and reach into communities with health promotion and education. According to the Lancet Global Health Commission, ‘Poor quality of care is now a bigger barrier to reducing mortality than insufficient access to care.’ That is why CGFNS and ICM are harmonizing standards to support mobility of fully qualified midwives and promote quality maternal and infant health.”
“As an NGO of the United Nations, CGFNS has an interest in global standards for healthcare,” Dr. Shaffer said. “This is a continuation of our work in that arena.”
Other divisions of CGFNS include: International Consultants of Delaware, The Alliance for Ethical International Recruitment Practices, the International Commission on Healthcare Professions, and the International Center on Nurse Migration, a partnership with the International Council of Nurses.
About CGFNS International, Inc.
Founded in 1977, CGFNS International, Inc., based in Philadelphia, is an immigration-neutral not-for-profit organization operating in 227 countries as the world’s largest credentials evaluation organization for the nursing and allied healthcare professions. CGFNS and the International Council of Nurses co-founded the International Centre on Nurse Migration (ICNM) to serve as a global resource for research, policy and information on nurse migration. CGFNS has NGO consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is a member of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO).
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