August 30, 2011

MaterCare Conference Day 1

The Lord be praised! I write to you all from the Vatican after the first evening session of the MaterCare International 8th annual meeting.  This year the conference is focusing on “The Dignity of Mothers and Obstetricians: Who on Earth Cares!”  That last part may be a bit jarring for most, and rightly so.  In the words of Bogdan Chazan, chairman of the Matercare International Advisory Council:
This dramatic question is to wake us.  To make us aware of the range and size of the world epidemic of perinatal deaths of mothers and children….we have the right – and even the duty – to draw our attention to the drama of the situation of societies, families and children, where mothers die.  An improvement of the care for mothers and their children is not only an issue for governments and non-government organizations.  Doctors, midwives, and nurses should treat their duties in obstetrics not only through the narrow lens of maternal-fetal medicine.  We should treat this beautiful medical specialty more broadly, rather as medicine of maternity.
This meeting is designed to bring about that paradigm shift and for the participants to learn the facts concerning OB/GYN care around the world, and to learn concrete steps that can be taken to help make this a reality.
Now, I am sure many are wondering, who is MaterCare International? MCI is a group of Catholic obstetricians and gynecologists who have adopted a preferential option for mothers and babies.  MCI’s mission is to carry out the work of Evangelium Vitae by supporting their colleagues and improving the lives and health of mothers and babies both born and unborn. They seek to do this through new initiatives in service, training, research, and advocacy designed to reduce the tragic levels of abortion worldwide and maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity in developing nations.  MCI is also the obstetric and gynecologic arm of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations (FIACM). 
This conference has drawn quite a group of speakers and participants, and I look forward to sharing more of the conference.  Just a few names you might recognize: Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Dr. Donna Harrison, of AAPLOG, Mike O’Dea of Christus Medicus, and many others from around the world. So please, continue to check back and don’t forget to follow live updates on twitter @Cathmedstudents and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.comcatholicmedicalstudents

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