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Hunter Valley Midwives Association (HVMA)

The story of a small but thriving sub-branch of the State organisation of midwives in NSW, Australia

The HVMA was born on 27 July, 1985, at the Mater Misericordia Hospital, Newcastle when a group of local midwives felt the need to meet on common ground and provide each other with support and encouragement. The mother organisation is the New South Wales Midwives Association (Inc) (branch of the Australian College of Midwives Incorporated). The Hunter Valley Midwives Association is a voluntary, non-profit concern.

HVMA aims to be supportive of all midwives, and help clarify the role of the midwife in light of new legislation and changing social needs. HVMA promotes education of self and others, encourages political awareness and takes an active interest in plannin g of health provision, facilities and staff in the Hunter Valley concerning midwifery and neonatal care. Communication between medical practitioners, midwives in institutions, midwives in private practice and the community is encouraged.

HVMA liaisons with maternal and child health nurses and other community support organisations who care for mothers, babies and their families. Excellence in midwifery students in the Hunter Valley is encouraged, with an annual prize donated at graduation . Each year HVMA organises seminars for midwives, and the provision of a guest speaker at every meeting is another educational opportunity for the members.

An active role is taken by this group in support of causes to further the health of young child-bearing families, and other community projects. In 1993 HVMA donated $500 to the Cow Bank project in Cambodia, and has donated also to the Kendal Hospital in Cambodia, to winter appeals for the homeless and destitute, to local maternity units for equipment, to the UNICEF "girl child" project, and to the Newcastle Earthquake appeal, among others. The Cambodia Cow Bank project involved purchase of a cow that is given to a Cambodia woman to take care of it. The women gain in turn by cow's milk production - not for baby consumption! - and sale of calves. This project helped generate an income for women, therefore assisting in the fight against poverty and raisi ng the status of women in the community.

Sixteen Hunter Valley midwives attended the International Congress of Midwives in Vancouver in May, 1994. They wore a uniform that was coordinated by the then president, Anne Colhoun, and designed by Jean Bas to reflect Australian style and culture. The members spent much of their time in Vancouver promoting the International Midwives Network. The aim of this project is to encourage midwives to correspond with another midwife in another country, to exchange ideas and support for improving the care of m others and babies. Participants are encouraged to write to each other around May 5 each year, International Midwives Day. Last year 350 postcards printed by the HVMA were posted to midwives overseas reminding them to contact their midwife pen-friend.

Membership of HVMA

Most of the members are midwives working in the Hunter Valley. Associate membership is granted to student midwives and other health professionals working in maternity areas. Annual fee is $25.00. Members must also be financial members of NSW Midwives A ssociation, being an additional amount.

HVMA can be found in 20 maternity units from Gosford to Scone to Port Macquarie. Membership includes midwives from: John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, community areas, Scone, Belmont, Cessnock, Gosford Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Forste r, Port Macquarie, University of Newcastle, independent midwifery practitioners (Hunter Midwives in Private Practise HMIPP), and MIDIS (England).

Hunter Valley Midwives Association Journal

The Hunter Valley Midwives Journal (HVMAJ) is produced by members of the HVMA. It has an ISSN number and is registered at the National Library of Canberra as a periodical. The journal is written on the HVMA personal computer, which is available for use of members at the John Hunter Hospital. This is a bi-monthly publication. Annual subscription for membership of HVMA includes cost of journal.

HVMAJ is intended to be a forum for the opinions and inspirations of midwives, aiming to publish articles that reflect the triumphs and concerns of the midwifery profession, both here in the Hunter Valley, nationally and abroad. The journal will provide free space for advertising seminars, conferences and events that are in the interests of midwifery. Submissions for publication may be edited, with consultation. Submissions are preferred by E-mail, or on a 3.5 or 5.25 floppy disk (not essential), most word-processing formats acceptable - please contact the Editor, Kathleen Claire (phone (61) (049) 21-4693 or E-mail: ktan@metz.une.edu.au for more information.

(The role of social support in midwifery practice and research from the HVMA Journal.)

Meetings

HVMA meets bi-monthly, on Fridays at 6pm, at venues to be confirmed. Meetings are always dinner-meetings (tax-deductable) with a guest speaker and lively discussion of midwifery issues.

It is apparent that the enthusiastic support of midwives in the HVMA has done much to promote the cause of maternal health in this area: challenging midwives to think about and justify their individual approach to practice, providing them with common grou nd in which to give each other support, and providing a vehicle through which local midwives can realise larger dreams of making substantial contributions to the community. Country areas around the state interested in forming similarly successful sub-g roups have often referred to HVMA for advice.

Hunter Valley Midwives Association is a sub-branch of the NSW Midwives Association (Inc.), (Branch of the Australian College of Midwives Inc.)
President: Carmel Ferry
Secretary: Christine Brassil
Editor: Kathleen Claire
HVMA, PO Box 411, New Lambton, NSW, 2305, Australia
E-mail: ktan@metz.une.edu.au
Phone: 61-49-214-693 Fax: 61-49-214-394

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