Student shortlisted for RCM award will observe midwifery practice in occupied Palestinian territory

Published: 12 January 2011 at 14:47

Student midwife is shortlisted for award which would support her forthcoming trip to observe midwifery practices in the West Bank.

A student midwife from Anglia Ruskin University’s Faculty of Health & Social Care with a particular interest in the Middle East has been announced in the shortlist of the Royal College of Midwives Annual Midwifery Awards 2011.

Judith Green, who is currently studying for a BSc (Hons) Midwifery at Cambridge, has been shortlisted alongside students from two other universities for the Pampers Student Vision Award .  She will attend a ceremony on 19 January at The Royal Garden Hotel, London, to discover if she has won the category.

Judith, from Cambridge, is shortlisted for her overseas study placement with Juzoor Foundation for Health and Social Development in Palestine.  Her trip to the Palestinian territory, partially under Israeli occupation and partially under the government of the Palestinian National Authority, will see her observing community-based and midwife-led care in the West Bank.

It was during her thirties that Judith decided to leave her job as an academic to return to university as a student midwife. As she explains,

"I wanted to do something worthwhile and hands on and my midwifery training has proved to be both, as well as challenging and enriching in equal measure.  I have found that my midwifery in the UK is part of the wider world  – from the international research that influences my practice, to my midwifery mentors trained in many countries.  Global media make us all more aware of the harsh existences of people in distant places."

"For me, it was reading Gideon Levy’s reports in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, about Palestinian women delayed and sometimes giving birth at checkpoints; and Rula Ashtiya's tragic story of giving birth hiding herself behind a concrete block, and watching her baby girl die that made me want to travel to the area to find out more."

Judith decided that the West Bank would be the destination for her midwifery study abroud and that she would devote her final year dissertation to an aspect of midwifery in the occupied Palestinian territory.  Now reaching the end of her training the dissertation deadline looms and her elective is just months away.

Professor David Humber, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health & Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University said:

"We are clearly delighted by the fact that Judith has been shortlisted for an RCM Annual Midwifery Award and hope that she is successful in this highly innovative category where she has already demonstrated her expertise."

"Judith is honoured that she has been invited to the occupied Palestinian territory by Juzoor for Health and Social Development which has midwifery and maternal health as central to their work.  The organisation helps with midwifery education and standards of care, promoting policies that recognize and utilise midwives as important providers in various health care settings and developing normal birth practice guidelines."

Judith observes,

"As well as huge differences there are similarities with UK issues, for example in promoting normal birth guidelines, and there is much common ground with our own RCM Campaign for Normal Birth.  I’m also impressed by how improving the status and organization of midwives and their utilization in the community is seen as central to promoting maternal and child health. This is not only true for beleaguered settings such as the occupied Palestinian territory but also holds true for our own health service."

Judith will split her time in the West Bank between a ‘maternity home’ (equivalent to a birth centre), health clinics and home visits. Her trip will be an observational placement to experience first-hand the efforts of midwives and other maternity care providers to deliver care in the West Bank.

She concludes,

"Having studied these questions from an academic perspective, I’ve now got itchy feet and can’t wait to meet midwives working in practice.  Theory is all very well but there is no substitute for a good dose of reality!"

"I am delighted to have been shortlisted by the RCM for the Pampers Student Vision Award."

The financial support she would receive from the award would enable Judith to show her gratitude towards her host organisations in a very practical way, through donating the money that she would have spent on travel and accommodation.  She hopes that her overseas study will be the start of a long-term professional relationship with Palestinian midwives.