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National Coordinator AFMW 2019 Newsletter Address

Most of you will already know me as VMWS President, however I am very pleased to be introducing myself to our AFMW members as the new AFMW National Coordinator (AFMW NC) for the MWIA Triennium 2019-2022.

The National Coordinator functions as the conduit of communication between MWIA and our national organisation with the aim of keeping our ties active and our members engaged. The appointment was made official at the 2019 MWIA Centennial conference in New York, as was Dr Desiree Yap’s new role, as the Western Pacific Vice President (WPVP).

The process of sharing information between MWIA and AFMW involves MWIA passing information to our WPVP, Dr Desiree Yap. Dr Yap then will forward this on to each NC from each of the 8 countries in our Western Pacific region, one of which includes Australia. I will then forward this information on to all of our state leaders, our state secretaries, our young MWIA national representative and to our individual state representatives. If there are changes in roles or positions within AFMW please notify me so that I can update the list I use. l welcome you to email me directly on [email protected] with queries and to communicate with me as frequently as you need and look forward to becoming acquainted with the broader AFMW community.

[Editors comment: The AFMW Secretary will also maintain a contact list of state committees and contacts so please notify her with changes using this email address.]

A couple of actions I have already taken in this new role is to recommend that MWIA establish a resolution on Climate Change and its impact on the health of women and children. Although MWIA does not have a formal resolution regarding this important item, the Executive Committee unanimously agreed that this is of very high importance  and I am currently in the unofficial role of keeping MWIA briefed regarding our activities as a nation and those of the broader international medical community on climate change issues. Another recommendation I made to MWIA was to request that Facebook and other social media platforms delete posts that advertise or promote female genital mutilation as was the case with the Philippines recently.

The MWIA president, Dr Clarissa Fabre, so far has been very active in sending out information regarding her aspirations and the strategy of MWIA for this coming triennium. The invitation to join working groups for the various special projects was sent out immediately, with several reminders. Once the state presidents receive the AFMW NC information, the state president and respective secretary needs to share the information to the state members also. This way, not only do we have committee members, but paying members from our broader community, informed of opportunities and developments. Sometimes we will know of individuals within our midst who have specific skills or connections that can impact projects positively and my invitation to you all is that you engage such women and invite them to get involved and become members of your state.

In addition to the list of projects and groups we were all invited to apply for below for this triennium, the new MWIA World Health Organisation representative was being selected.  These are such wonderful opportunities that we can apply for and learn from.

MWIA has three Standing Committees:

•   Finance
•   Scientific and Research
•   Ethics and Resolutions

Two Ad Hoc committees have also been established:

•   Communications and Social Media
•   Strategy and Advocacy

  MWIA is  also planning several Project groups:

•   Women’s health and the prevention of Unplanned Teenage  Pregnancies: the Unmet Need
•   HPV vaccination and the elimination of cervical cancer
•   The prevention and treatment of postpartum haemorrhage
•   Violence against women and girls/sexual harassment/ cyberviolence
•   Facilitating career progression / work life balance
•   Encouraging mentoring worldwide
•   Gender medicine
•   Mental health
•   Menopause

Members were invited to indicate interest in a maximum of 3 committees or projects, stating why they were interested in the role, what they could contribute and why they should be chosen. To ensure diversity and regional balance, the Executive Committee makes the final decision as to who serves on which committee or project, and the actual applications could come directly from the individuals, without needing to be selected by their national group.

Of note is that MWIA will endeavour to improve its communications strategy and social media presence so social media such as the MWIA Facebook groups will be used frequently. If you do have a Facebook account, I invite you to please join MWIA. In addition to this, Dr Fabre’s plan is to write a monthly president’s letter to keep us abreast of all the MWIA activities.

Finally, I would like to thank the AFMW Executive for entrusting me with this important role and my endeavour will be to maintain  a close relationship between MWIA, AFMW and the wider world of medical women.


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