From CMF news - spring 2008 - Allied professions [p8]
2007 was a relatively quiet if eventful year. One key change was that CTN underwent a major change of leadership, as Zillah Whitehouse, its founder and co-ordinator for the past seven years, stepped back while many other longstanding Council members stepped down and a newly elected Council stepped up. Meanwhile, CNM has continued to grow slowly, with a new group starting in Sheffield, and others developing in Swansea and Liverpool.
The national joint conference for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals was held 1-3 February at Hebron Hall, near Cardiff. Of the one hundred who came, 45 were nurses and midwives and 50 were allied health professionals. Eight were students. Tim Cudmore, a dentist and former missionary, spoke on what it means to be 'radically different as a Christian in the workplace', and CMF's Sheena Tranter gave much appreciated Saline Solution training.
The coming year presents some worrying challenges for Christians in nursing and midwifery in particular, with the possible introduction of legislation allowing nurse or midwife led abortion. Various groups of nurses and midwives are linking with CMF and CNM to challenge this in Parliament, and to help nurses and midwives on the ground should the legislation come into effect.
At the same time, the NHS recruitment freeze still means many newly qualified allied professionals cannot find work. In some professions the unemployment rate has been as high as 90% of new graduates. This is a matter of ongoing concern, both for the individuals who are unable to start a career for which they have trained for several years, and for the health service as a whole, which will find it increasingly hard to find qualified professionals in the future as people either leave the country or leave the professions. Please pray, as this situation echoes the plight of junior doctors in the MTAS debacle last year.
NCFI continues to grow, and is in the midst of developing a new training programme for Christian nurse leadership, based around both biblical and professional standards. This programme should be launched at their international conference in September, to be held in Jos, Nigeria, which will also mark the 50th anniversary of the movement.
Also in September, as part of the ICMDA Eurasia Conference in Austria, there will be an allied professions pre-conference programme. Healthcare Christian Fellowship International are drawing it together, alongside ICMDA and NCFI.
This year's Micah Challenge campaign will focus around Millennium Development Goal four – reduction of child and infant mortality rates by half by 2015. The campaign will be launched formally in the spring. With a recent UN report showing that in some of the poorest nations one in four children born alive does not make it to adulthood, and that one in eight mothers will die during pregnancy or giving birth, there is a major challenge to take to world leaders for action on child and maternal health.
In the meantime, Micah Challenge has launched Take Five, a monthly cycle of 'mini campaigns' which focus on a different Millennium Development Goal each month, and give special areas for prayer, action and further reading.
CMF continues to support Micah Challenge as a major Christian initiative to speak God's justice to worldly powers, and in particular to advocate for the health of the world's poor. You can find out more at www.micahchallenge.org.uk
Colleagues who are interested in becoming PRIME tutors for our overseas and UK training programmes are invited to join us at Crowhurst, East Sussex from 25 – 27 June. We are running a tutor training course at a beautiful location in the Sussex countryside. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our South Asia desk holder, Huw Morgan, has relocated to Kathmandu with his wife Mary, who has become Director of Human Resources for the United Mission to Nepal. Huw will have a role in medical education. They value our prayers in this new venture.
Healthserve Australia has affiliated with PRIME and will co-ordinate PRIME activities down under. Australian tutor Professor Helen Malcolm joined the PRIME team in Nepal before Christmas, when eight tutors provided training in a variety of settings including the national conference of the Psychiatrists' Association of Nepal, faculty training at three medical schools, and a seminar with leaders of rural churches.