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5TH ANNUAL CONGRESS
“Midwives on the Move: Empowering Midwives, Ensuring Healthy Women and Families” was the Congress theme for the Afghan Midwives Association (AMA) 5th Annual Congress, held on May 3-4, 2009. Pashtoon Azfar, AMA President, in her welcoming remarks used the theme to call attention to the key role of Afghan midwives in maternal and neonatal mortality reduction and recognizes that saving women’s lives protects and strengthens the health and well-being of their families. The aim of the Annual Congress was to provide an opportunity to share midwifery experiences, best practices, and learn new approaches to care for mothers and newborns. The Congress also was an opportunity for AMA members to engage in networking and to develop supportive relationships as friends and colleagues. More than 400 Midwives travelled from 28 provinces in Afghanistan to attend this event. The difficulties of travel and security caused some delayed arrivals, but there were no reports of any midwives giving up and turning back. The excitement about gathering together with other midwives and having an opportunity to attend educational sessions generated strong motivation and commitment. In addition, invited guests attended the opening and closing ceremonies and more than 50 physicians and other health workers attended the educational sessions.