A London midwife has received a prestigious Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Fellowship for her work supporting South Asian women and midwives, and her efforts to tackle inequality in maternity care. Nafiza Anwar is a Lead Maternal Medicine Midwife at the North East London Clinical Commissioning Group. Nafiza’s Fellowship was announced at the RCM’s Education Conference in Coventry yesterday. 

Nafiza received the Fellowship for her trailblazing efforts to tackle inequalities in maternity. As part of this work, she sits on a national equity and equality steering group aiming to ensure equality of care for women and babies, and NHS staff.  She is also a Director and Co-founder of the , which focuses on improving maternity services for South Asian women and families and supporting midwives from those communities.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Nafiza’s determination to change services and drive out inequality, and her tireless work to support women and midwives from the South Asian community is remarkable. She is a shining light to us all and a one-woman beacon of excellence that we can only admire. I congratulate Nafiza heartily and the RCM is delighted to be able to put her important work and achievements in the spotlight.” 

Originally a nurse since 1989, Nafiza went on to train as a midwife qualifying in 2000. Her midwifery career has taken her through a wide range of roles including clinical practice, education, management, service improvement and project management. She completed her MSc in Public Health for Developing Countries and worked with the Department for International Development as a project manager for South Asia. This was in line with her passion to drive change in woman’s health internationally. She went on to complete an MA in Medical Education and worked with Kings College University where she supported student midwives and midwives in clinical settings.

She has also been a consultant volunteer with the RCM’s twinning project, working with the Bangladesh Midwifery Society, mentoring young midwifery leaders there providing them with support and advice. In her current role Nafiza is working to improve care for women with complex medical needs in North East London. 

Nafiza said: “It is an absolute honour to be selected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives. I feel very humbled to receive this prestigious award. I will ensure that I represent and support all midwives from marginalised communities and hope that I will inspire more midwives from the South Asian diaspora. This award has not changed who I am but given me more determination and passion to drive the inequalities agenda. I will continue to advocate for midwives and women from culturally diverse communities to eliminate the systemic racism and bias that taints our health services.  Equity needs to be the golden thread embedded in the core of our organisational values and visions so that midwives from culturally diverse groups can thrive and grow in a nurturing environment.

I strongly believe that if you are determined and passionate about what you believe is right you will reach that summit at the top of that mountain that may seem too high to reach. It’s about believing in yourself and overcoming the challenges that come your way.” 

Among Nafiza’s other high-profile roles she is a panel member for the MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Confidential Enquiry. This reports on maternity care outcomes for women to drive improvement in safety and care. She is also a member of the East of England Task and Finish group focusing on ethnic minority staff development in the NHS.   

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