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Last Thursday saw the extremely successful ‘Powered by PechaKucha’ event in celebration of the International Day of the Midwife. Soapbox hosted an evening of presentations at the Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen, where speakers came to talk about various topics in maternal and newborn health.

PechaKucha means ‘chit-chat’ in Japanese and is a format by which speakers have just 20 images and 20 seconds per image (a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds) to deliver their information and engage the audience. We were joined by speakers from WaterAid, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of Aberdeen, with fantastic hosting and introductions by NHS Grampian’s Jillian Evans.

Our first speaker Dr Susan Crowther launched the evening with a presentation on the lives of midwives in different regions of the world. With over 20 years of global midwifery experience and as professor of midwifery at RGU, Susan delivered an engaging presentation about her own personal experiences working in a variety of locations all over the world, and the barriers and facilitators she has faced in delivering quality care.

Soapbox’s Chief Scientific Advisor Professor Wendy Graham delivered a fast-paced presentation on the role of cleaners across the world. She discussed how cleaners are often ‘invisible’ within their environments, yet serve a vital role in fighting invisible within health care facilities. Yael Velleman, Senior Policy Analyst from WaterAid UK complemented the discussion by sharing her experiences of projects which work to deliver water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to healthcare facilities globally.

University of Aberdeen medical students, Lucy Singh, Sam Tweed and Lucy Soudain all delivered fantastic presentations around the topic of maternal & newborn health. Soapbox ambassador, Lucy Singh, shared a fascinating narrative of the journey of many migrants and refugees and their struggle to access safe, quality health care during pregnancy and delivery. Beginning the second round of presentations for the evening, Lucy Soudain reported on the devastating impact of obstetric fistula in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa, followed later by Sam Tweed who discussed his research on Staphylococcus aureus infection and his project in the Gambia.

Concluding the presentations, Dr Sandra Virgo of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, shared Soapbox’s work in Malawi that we’re conducting in partnership with WaterAid. Sandra discussed the needs assessments that have been applied to a number of maternity units across the country and some of the issues the project has faced along the way.

The event was a huge success and fuelled positive discussion around the importance of quality care and determination to improve maternity health care globally. Thanks to The Belmont Filmhouse for accommodating this event and to all who attended.