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New Zealand midwife takes the helm at ICM

New ICM CEO Dr Sally Pairman
Photo: New ICM CEO Dr Sally Pairman
New Zealand midwife Dr Sally Pairman is the new CEO of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).

Dr Pairman, who has a distinguished midwifery career spanning 33 years, will move from Dunedin to The Hague, in the Netherlands, this month to take up the prominent position as head of the organisation known as 'the global voice' for midwifery.

The ICM, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2019, comprises 130 midwives’ associations in 113 countries - representing an estimated 400,000 midwives.

“This is a very exciting opportunity because there is now strong research evidence to support what midwives have always known - that care led by well-educated, regulated and autonomous midwives, integrated within health systems - is the best solution to the challenges of ensuring quality maternity care for mothers and their babies around the world,” Dr Pairman said.
“The ICM’s mission is to ensure that all women, irrespective of their economic status, have access to midwifery care and because millions of women throughout the world cannot yet take this for granted, there is a huge job to be done.”

Dr Pairman has been involved in the ICM for almost 10 years, as co-chair on the regulation standing committee and as a member of the scientific professional programme committee.

Dr Pairman, who until recently was Director of Learning and Teaching and Co-Head of the School of Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic, has been integral to advancements in New Zealand’s midwifery profession.

Dr Pairman was involved in a campaign that led to midwives gaining the right to practise autonomously through the Nurses Amendment Act 1990, was a founding member and later became president of the New Zealand College of Midwives, and was the first Chair of New Zealand’s midwifery regulatory body, the Midwifery Council, when it was established in 2003.

New Zealand's internationally renowned midwifery-led model of maternity care has had an impact on ICM’s philosophies, Dr Pairman said.

“We are really the only country in the world where maternity services are integrated throughout the whole maternity journey and midwife-led continuity of care is embedded in the maternity system,” she said.

“This is recognised by colleagues internationally and they look to us to see what may be transferrable to their contexts.”

Dr Pairman, who holds a master’s degree and a doctorate, has also been at the frontier of major changes to midwifery education, helping to design New Zealand’s first midwifery undergraduate degree and the first master of midwifery program.


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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords