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UCLan staff scoop national midwifery award

Posted on - 17th May, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - People, Preston News, UCLan
Elizabeth Gomez (left) and Professor Soo Downe
Elizabeth Gomez (left) and Professor Soo Downe

Two midwifery staff members at UCLan have scooped a national award in recognition of their pioneering work to help develop and strengthen midwifery services in India.

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Elizabeth Gomez and Professor Soo Downe, who are both members of UCLan’s School of Community Health and Midwifery, have won the Royal College of Midwives Johnson’s award for Excellence in Midwifery Education, Learning and Research.

This follows groundbreaking work undertaken by Elizabeth, Soo and the wider UCLan midwifery team to help further improve professional midwifery services available to mothers in India.

Through online teaching and close partnership working with the Fernandez Hospitals Foundation in Hyderabad in India, UCLan has been instrumental in setting up a new education programme for professional midwives in the country.

The project is part of India’s efforts to establish midwifery as a recognised and regulated profession. This will help improve pregnancy care and support the country’s drive to reduce pregnancy related death rates of mothers and babies.

Currently in India nearly 32,000 women a year lose their lives through the pregnancy and birth process. In addition, 590,000 new-born babies are estimated to die in the first month of life.

Read more: Plea to women as one in nine smoke during pregnancy in Preston area

Elizabeth Gomez said: “We are honoured and thrilled to have won this award. We are privileged to work with an amazing team at the Fernandez Foundation and our dedicated International Midwifery Educators trained at UCLan.  

“Together the team are committed to ensuring that India’s nurses and midwives are trained as educators of the highest calibre, ensuring respectful, compassionate care is embedded into all they teach for the benefit of women, babies and families across India.”

Read more: ‘We’re right beside you’ – midwives tell mums-to-be services are still running

Professor Soo Downe said: “We are delighted that all the hard work being undertaken by the whole team, including UCLan, the Fernandez Foundation in India, and the International Midwife Educators, has been recognised by this very exciting award.

“We are now looking forward to supporting the midwifery education programme in India, as it flourishes and grows over the next few years.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said:  “Too many mothers and babies across the world are dying needlessly for want of the right care, and midwives are key to solving this. They save lives and they make a big difference to the health of mothers and babies, and how well they do in pregnancy and beyond. 

“That is why Soo and Elizabeth’s project is so important. It underpins the RCM’s commitment to support midwifery globally and they are worthy winners of this award.”

Read more: How UCLan students and staff have volunteered during the coronavirus pandemic

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What do you think of Elizabeth and Soo’s award? Let us know in the comments.

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