Midwifery latest addition to UNESCO heritage list involving Slovenia
Slovenia and seven other countries have succeeded in their bid to get midwifery on the UNESCO list of intangible heritage in the latest round of inscriptions.
Meeting in Kasane, Botswana, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage decided on 6 December to inscribe the knowledge, skills and practices of midwives on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Apart from Slovenia, the nomination has been put forward by Columbia, Cyprus, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Nigeria and Togo.
Midwifery is Slovenia's seventh listing on the UNESCO inventory of intangible heritage. The country's beekeeping tradition and Lipizzan horse breeding in Slovenia and seven other countries were added to the list last year.
The list also includes the Škofja Loka passion play, rounds made by the kurenti, the best known Slovenian carnival figures, bobbin lace making, and as part of a multinational entry the art of dry stone walling.
The nomination of the latest listing was drawn up by midwives' associations from the eight countries involved in cooperation with the relevant ministries and heritage and public health experts.
"The essence of midwifery is the loving care of a woman while she is expecting and giving birth to a child," said Zalka Drglin of the National Institute of Public Health, who has been involved in preparing the nomination.
She described the knowledge of midwives as the result of a balanced tradition of midwifery care, modern scientific knowledge and the experience that midwives gain in overseeing childbirth.
"From a public health perspective, advanced midwifery is seen as an important factor in promoting health and an opportunity to empower women as mothers, contributing to the well-being of society as a whole," she added.
Commenting on the inscription, Columbian midwife Liceth Quinones said the midwives from the eight countries participating in the nomination had taken the first step to include midwifery knowledge in the immense cultural heritage of the planet.
They believe that this cultural heritage is a necessary practice to ensure the well-being of different communities.
"We are aware that we are the custodians of ancestral knowledge, built from practice, which is as valid as scientific medical knowledge," the Colombian midwife added.
A midwifery school was founded in Ljubljana in 1753, and the first maternity hospital in Slovenia was established in 1789.