National acclaim for UCLan midwifery staff's pioneering work in India

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

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 7:00 am

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 ground breaking work undertaken by both Elizabeth, Soo and the wider UCLan midwifery team to help further improve professional midwifery services available to mothers in India.

Through on-line 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.

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Elizabeth Gomez and Professor Soo Downe

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 (SRS 2014-2016).

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 Nurse/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.”

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.”