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NACPM Joins the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood

NACPM has become a member of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood! The members of this alliance are a diverse group of local and international organizations, government agencies and individuals committed to the health and well-being of women and their families. NACPM is pleased to join this distinguished group and to become involved in one of their specific projects.  You can learn more about this alliance at www.whiteribbonalliance.org.

Brenda Surabian, a CPM practicing in Maine, an EMT and an NACPM member, has been working since Hurricane Katrina struck, to develop a plan to be presented nationally to include CPMs in the national disaster response plan in order better serve women and families in times of crisis.  Many midwives were frustrated in their attempts to help the victims of the hurricane because there is currently no place for our services in the current national disaster response plan.  Brenda found that she could participate as an EMT but not as a midwife.  She developed a comprehensive response plan to include the services of CPMs and has been working with NACPM about how to best implement her ideas. 

The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood convened a national working group to address the issue of how federal, state and local governments should prepare for the special needs of pregnant women, new mothers and infants during a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.  They developed four strategies that will be instrumental in moving forward to address these needs:  advocating for federal legislation to include language pertaining to mothers and infants in emergency preparedness plans, developing a guidance document for emergency preparedness planners at both the federal and state levels, developing a kit and guidelines for responders to use in the field during a disaster, and a media/communications plan to inform the public and policymakers of the working groups efforts and the need for new legislation around the issue. 

The Alliance held working group meetings in Washington, D.C. over the past two years.  Brenda has been excited about the work of this group and its relationship to her own work and ideas, and she participated in the working group meetings to bring the ideas she developed, to work to include CPMs in these response plans, and to represent the interests of NACPM.  She was joined in these efforts by Christy Santoro, CPM from Pennsylvania, a former NACPM board member, and by Holly Arends, CPM of Maine. 

The WRA working group, including NACPM participation as described above, produced the Women and Infants Service Package (WISP), which NACPM endorsed.  You can read this document at their web site, www.whiteribbonalliance.org. This is a document that will be used nationally to improve disaster relief planning to better meet the needs of women and infants.  It is also a document that CPMs can take to their state planning agencies to inform their work and to advocate for including CPMs in state emergency preparedness planning. 

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