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In 1996 the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) created the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI): 10 Steps to Mother-Friendly Hospitals. Although designed specifically for the U.S, the MFCI had global impact. In response to strong international pressure, the CIMS International Committee was formed with the goal of creating an international initiative that would be applicable in all countries and settings. It became the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization (IMBCO) in 2007. In collaboration with grass-roots representatives from every world region and an international Technical Advisory Group (consisting of representatives from WHO, UNICEF, ICM, FIGO, Lamaze International, and many others), IMBCO created the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI): 10 Steps to Optimal MotherBaby Maternity Services and launched it in 2008.
The purpose of the IMBCI is to call global attention to the importance of the quality of the mother’s birth experience and its impact on the outcome, the risks to mother and baby from inappropriate medical interventions and lack of access to appropriate emergency care, and the scientific evidence showing the benefits of optimal MotherBaby care based on the normal physiology of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. The IMBCI 10 Steps set the gold standard for excellence and superior outcomes in maternity care. The IMBCI has been translated into over 20 languages and is being put to many uses in the developed and developing worlds. Its 10 Steps are currently being implemented in 3 pilot/demonstration sites--hospitals in Quebec, Brazil, and Austria. This presentation will describe the IMBCI and the multiple ways in which it is being put to work around the world. A critical component of the IMBCI is that it highlights the fact that “women’s and children’s rights are human rights” and that “access to humane and effective health care is a basic human right.”
The Asia-Pacific Regional Representative of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization is midwife Rachael Austin, dnraustin[at]bigpond.com from Theodore, Queensland.