REPORT: Malta (5-6 November, 2018)

Scientific Report: COST Action IS1405: Building Intrapartum Research Through Health –an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualizing physiological labour and birth (BIRTH)

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Meeting date: Monday 5th to Tuesday 6th November 2018
Venue: San George Corinthia Hotel, St Julians and The University of Malta, Valletta Campus, Malta
Meeting Type: Final Action Conference
Local Organiser Institution: Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Malta, Malta
Attendance: The meeting was attended by 44 participants, most of them members of the COST Action.

Proceedings
Monday 5th November 2018
Venue: San George Corinthia Hotel, St Julians
Her Excellency, The President of Malta, Dr Marie Louise Coleiro-Preca was welcomed by the host Prof Jean Calleja-Agius, who officially announced the start of this Final Action Conference for BIRTH.

Her Excellency, The President, during the opening speech stated: “I would like to thank the team behind COST Action IS1405 – ‘From Birth to Health’ for the work they have done, over the past eight years, to generate essential and much-needed research.
I would like to encourage them to take this research, and use it to raise the political profile around this issue, as they are in a perfect position to provide the politicians and policy-makers of our nations with the relevant resources, to improve the wellbeing of expectant mothers.

“All of our countries have a clear responsibility, to safeguard and to protect every mother. For this reason, let me recommend that this research is a first step, to create an EU-wide Observatory on holistic and equitable Maternal Healthcare.”

This particular speech was widely disseminated including through social media and the local news.

This was then followed by a presentation delivered by the Chair and vice-Chair of the Action, Prof Soo DOwne and Dr Ramon Escuriet, in the presence of her Excellency and her Office, as well as the COST participants. This was followed by the individual presentations of the Working Group leaders (1-6) including their work done during the total duration of the project.

Following that, Professor Stella Villarmea introduced the discussion on the laying of the statutes for the new Association on International Birth Research (IBRA). At 7pm, there was a private audience held with Her Excellency The President at her Official Residence, San Anton Palace, where future plans were laid out, inorder to issue an Outcome
Declaration for this meeting. This was followed by a grand reception for all the COST members and accompanying guests at the Hall of San Anton Palace.

Tuesday 6th November 2018
Venue: The University of Malta, Valletta Campus
The second day started off with an MC meeting, where the final agreements on the statues of the IBRA association were laid out, followed by the election of the Steering Committee, with Prof Soo Downe elected as President of the IBRA Association. Plans were also laid out on the Final Action Publication in PLOS One, with agreements on deadlines laid out.

A key note lecture was delivered by the invited expert, Dr France Donnay, on the Future of Funding in Advancing Maternal Health Care. Dr France Donnay is an independent consultant with an affiliation with Kings College London as a Visiting Professor. Her focus is global women’s health, especially maternal and neonatal health. With a public health career spanning 30 years, with UNICEF, UNFPA, Doctors Without Borders and the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation, she has worked with a large number of health organizations in many countries, from basic science to technology development and program design and implementation.

The working day concluded with the meetings of the group of B3 (Babies Born Better) survey and the first meeting of the IBRA Association. A leisure program was offered to the participants including a guided city tour of Valletta, which, this year, is the European Capital City of Culture 2018, and a final conference dinner at a traditional Maltese restaurant.

Prof Jean Calleja Agius MD, FRCOG, FRCPI, MSc Clinical Embryology (Leeds), PhD (London) Local Organiser

Programme details are on a pdf here.

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