Laos' Accreditation in Midwifery Education Leads ASEAN
Laos Achieves International Accreditation of Midwifery Education, Leading the Way for ASEAN.
The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has achieved a major milestone in its efforts to regulate and standardize midwifery education worldwide. The organization recently announced that Laos has become the first nation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve International Accreditation of Midwifery Education.
This significant accomplishment is a result of the ICM’s Midwifery Education Accreditation Programme (MEAP), which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UNFPA Maternal Health Trust Fund. The MEAP serves as a key regulatory and educational mechanism, assessing pre-service midwifery education programs to ensure they meet the ICM’s global education standards. This accreditation system not only serves as a quality label, but it also enables consistent midwifery education processes and graduate outcomes.
The colleges in Laos underwent an 18-month quality improvement process facilitated by UNFPA Laos, which hosted three workshops to support the schools in key areas for improvement. After completing the workshops, the schools were invited to apply for the MEAP pilot, which is the first of its kind in the world. The ICM MEAP team visited the three colleges in Laos, along with schools in Bangladesh and Rwanda, and the schools in Laos became the first to complete the process and achieve accreditation.
Photo by Han Myo Htwe
Mariam A. Khan, UNFPA Representative in Lao PDR, highlighted the significance of this achievement, stating, “This accreditation is timely and significant for Laos’ efforts to reduce maternal deaths. The Lao Midwives were committed to attain this standard despite the past few years riddled with COVID-19 related challenges.”
The MEAP accreditation system uses the ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education and the Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice to provide an independent assessment of midwifery education programs. The assessment certifies whether the programs meet the standards and identifies areas of good practice. The focus is on pre-service midwifery programs that use direct-entry and/or post-nursing registration.
Erin Ryan, ICM’s midwife advisor for education, praised the colleges in Laos for their commitment to quality improvement in education, stating, “The Laos PRD medical college attained MEAP accreditation. Equally impressive is the Laos’ colleges plans for ongoing quality assurance programs. They are not only an example and inspiration to midwifery educators around the world, but they are also leaders.”
This achievement is a major step towards regulated and standardized midwifery education globally. The ICM Midwife Association Strengthening team is set to meet in Portugal in early 2023 to discuss further plans for the MEAP. The success in Laos serves as a model for other nations to follow and demonstrates the importance of investing in midwifery education to ensure safe and quality care for mothers and newborns.
The International Accreditation of Midwifery Education in Laos is a remarkable achievement, not only for the nation but for the entire ASEAN region. The ICM’s MEAP program serves as a crucial tool in promoting regulated and standardized midwifery education, and the success in Laos demonstrates the impact of this initiative. The ICM will continue to work towards ensuring that midwifery education programs around the world meet the highest standards, improving maternal and newborn health globally.