International experts are taking part in a major Dundee conference exploring how to raise global midwifery standards.
Dundee University is hosting the event organised by the World Health Organisation, the United Nations’ public health body.
Senior WHO figures have been joined by representatives from other international organisations such as the World Bank, UNICEF and Save The Children.
Scottish Government health minister Shona Robison opened the conference on Monday.
The conference aims to improve midwifery education across the world over the next 15 years.
The meeting is being hosted in Dundee in recognition of the work of the University’s Mother and Infant Research Unit.
Mary Renfrew, professor of mother and infant health at Dundee, is a leading health researcher and was principal investigator for The Lancet Series on Midwifery, which is now being used by WHO and other organisations and governments to shape global and national strategy.
Her work is also informing the ongoing Scottish Government review of maternity and neonatal services.
She said: “There are huge variations in the level and standard of midwifery around the world.
“In some countries there is no midwifery provision at all while in others the midwives are not educated to international standards. High-quality education of midwives is crucial for high quality care.
“The question we will be addressing at this meeting is how can we work together to ensure women and babies everywhere have access to international-standard midwifery? This is central to a lot of the work we have done here regarding the quality of care for mothers and infants.”
Shona Robison said: “It is fitting that Scotland has been chosen to host this meeting because we are at the forefront of leading and driving improvements in maternity and midwifery care.
“Research and education are critical to that aspiration and hosting this meeting shows that Scotland is making its mark on the world in this sector.
“Dundee University has played a crucial role in this, through the contribution of its Mother and Infant Research Unit to the World Health Organisation’s work on quality maternity and midwifery care.
“The role of midwives is at the heart of Scottish maternity care and so I am delighted to see midwives from across the world come together in Dundee for these two days.
“This meeting will make a real difference for women and babies by considering improvements in the worldwide education of midwives. I am delighted to see Scotland play such a role in the global arena and look forward to continuing such partnership working in the future.”