Midwifery forum aims to strengthen, expand Inuit-led services

Pauktuutit hosting virtual event Tuesday through Thursday

Inuit women’s organization Pauktuutit will host the first National Inuit Midwifery Forum virtually from Tuesday through Thursday. President Gerri Sharpe, pictured, says the forum will address the gaps in access to Inuit-led midwifery services across Inuit Nunangat. (Photo by Madalyn Howitt)

By Nunatsiaq News

Inuit women’s organization Pauktuutit will host its first-ever National Inuit Midwifery Virtual Forum this week.

The virtual event, which runs from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, aims to address the “urgent need to increase Inuit midwifery services across Inuit Nunangat,” a spokesperson for the organization said in a news release.

The forum will host community representatives and health-care experts for a series of panel discussions and lectures.

Topics will include current gaps in service and challenges faced by Inuit giving birth, as well as those faced by infants and their families; the roles of Inuit midwives and access to culturally informed midwifery services; and the need for a rights-based framework to facilitate Inuit midwifery services across Inuit Nunangat.

“Currently, due to a lack of access to maternal care services Inuit women are forced to leave their home communities and travel vast distances by aircraft to give birth,” said Pauktuutit president Gerri Sharpe.

“This practice is extremely difficult — even dangerous — for expectant mothers and their young families.”

People interested in attending the virtual National Inuit Midwifery Forum can register in advance at Pauktuutit’s website or by emailing [email protected].

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Rationality on

    I don’t know what this extended grievance-fest will accomplish. What’s needed is for some Inuit to get the education to become midwives, and then do the jobs on a long-term and reliable basis once they graduate.

    More talk won’t accomplish that. The training is available. If a few Inuit got the necessary education and training, then you can look at expanding it more broadly, but without Inuit midwives you can’t have Inuit midwives. Talk has never worked in the past in getting people to take up this very demanding and responsible job, and it’s not going to work this time, either.

    • Posted by Inuit Mid-mums on

      There are still Inuit mid-mums alive who used to provide the service.
      But now they are forbidden to do so.
      They are no longer young.
      Use them now, or lose them and their experience forever.


      • Posted by More Info Please on

        Tell us more about why they are ‘forbidden’?

        • Posted by No no no on

          Yes, it would be nice if the medical profession explained why they pressured the government to make the practice of mid-mums illegal.
          Perhaps it was like the prohibition against throat-singing, or facial tatoos, or hunting muskox on Ellesmere Island.

          • Posted by S on

            Are there prohibitions against throat-singing and facial tattoos? Ban on muskox hunting on Ellesmere Island? Why are these bans in effect? Will I have to remove my tattoo? Stop throat singing in the shower?

            • Posted by iWonder on

              Prohibitions against throat singing and tattoos were ecclesiastical, not acts of government. I’m not sure why any one would feel compelled to obey? Were the consequences ever anything beyond imaginary? Or, imposed on the community by the community itself?

              Can anyone point to some good reading on the topic?

  2. Posted by Say no more on

    This is a women’s org that is supposed to advocate for women and yet does not have maternity leave for their staff. I am at a loss for words to understand how this is not possible. How important is women and their families to this organization?


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