The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has listened to its Member Associations in all regions, and accounts from the midwives working on the frontlines during this pandemic are harrowing, unveiling an increase in gender discrimination, domestic violence, human rights abuses, the over-medicalisation of birth and fear and misinformation, all culminating in growing distress among women and midwives.
ICM, in partnership with UNFPA, is uniting in solidarity with our global midwifery workforce to launch a series of calls to action for governments, decision makers, donors and health institutions to ensure the protection of midwives, women and newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click here to access the full statement, and please circulate widely within your networks.
We at the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), in solidarity with the 143 Midwives’ Associations we represent, stand in support of our long-time partner, the World Health Organization (WHO) as this vital, global institution experiences drastic and unprecedented funding suspension. Click here to read and share our full statement.
Resources for midwives and other maternity care providers
This web page highlights basic principles of contact tracing to stop COVID-19 transmission; detailed guidance for health departments and potential contact tracers is forthcoming. Click here to read this document from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The warning comes from top representatives of the GFF Investors Group in response to emerging findings that the COVID-19 pandemic is halting delivery in GFF-supported countries of essential services such as ante-natal care visits, attended births, delivery of child vaccinations and access to family planning, which have been key drivers in recent global reductions in maternal and child mortality. Click here to access the press release.
In this blog published on Medium HP+ modelers estimated the indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and newborn health in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan over the next 12 months. Using the Lives Saved Tool, the authors show the potential for significant increases in maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths – an estimated 766,000 additional deaths (a 31% increase) – across these four countries over the next year if maternal health service use declines due to the pandemic. The blog provides recommendations for countries to mitigate the indirect impact of COVID-19 on mothers and newborns.
The Safe Delivery App from Maternity Foundation, University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark aims to improve the quality of emergency obstetric and neonatal care and hereby strengthen health care workers skills and quality of care primarily in developing countries. The app will soon feature resources specific to maternal care during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Click here to download the app on the Apple Store.
Click here to access the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' comprehensive resource for healthcare professionals on Coronavirus infection in pregnancy.
Click here to access updated guidance on COVID-19 infection and pregnancy that includes reference to data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) study published in pre-print earlier this week (May 13).
Women and newborns need quality maternity care services and healthworkers must be supported to provide that care. There are no exceptions in times of crisis, even the current COVID-19 pandemic, which is putting more pressure on already overstrained health systems. Click here to access a variety of resources from White Ribbon Alliance.
To support countries’ preparedness effort on the COVID-19 outbreak, WHO`s Department of Health Security and Preparedness has developed various COVID-19 tabletop exercise (SimEx) packages. Click here to download the exercises.
Did you miss ICM midwife, Neha Mankani speaking with World Health Organization, Director General, Dr. Tedros, and Chief Nursing Officer, Elizabeth Iro on managing COVID-19?
Click here to watch Neha and others discuss their challenges and successes through the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mothers and healthcare workers who support them have many questions and concerns about whether it is safe for mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 to be close to and breastfeed their babies during the pandemic. Click here to learn more.
This article provides an overview of important considerations for supporting the emotional, mental and physical health needs of maternity care providers in the context of the unprecedented crisis that COVID-19 presents. Click here to read more.
Information for pregnant women
Click here to access the Public Health Department of England's social distancing guidelines, including guidance for those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus, such as pregnant women.
During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, health systems all over the world are either stressed to their maximum capacity or anticipating becoming overwhelmed. The population is advised not to attend hospital unless strictly necessary, yet this advice seems to apply to all but healthy women during childbirth. Click here to read more.
Click here to access the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Royal College of Midwives’ Q&A on general information and advice for all pregnant women during the coronavirus pandemic.
As a new UK study revealed that 55% of women admitted to hospital with coronavirus were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has launched a campaign to offer greater support and advice. Click here for more information.
Pregnancy is a special time full of excitement and anticipation. But for expectant mothers facing the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), fear, anxiety and uncertainty are clouding this otherwise happy time. To learn more about how women can protect themselves and their little one, UNICEF spoke with ICM President, Franka Cadée. Click here to read the full article.
Resources on Covid-19, gender and SRHR
The COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented strains on health care systems, including inpatient and outpatient, emergency care and surgical services. Regardless of these constraints, women will always need sexual and reproductive healthcare, including access to safe abortions.
Read FIGO's full statement calling for abortion access and safety during COVID-19 here.
Refugee settlements are usually densely populated, the people live in crowded tents/communities, with unresponsive public health infrastructure, as well as daily and frequent mobility between settlements and urban zones for work. It is also unlikely that they will have decent washing facilities. As a result, COVID-19 outbreak can spread quickly; affecting mainly women and girls' sexual and reproductive health.
Click here to read FIGO's full statement and call for interventions.
Every year, nearly 700 million women access modern contraceptive methods, over 90 million give birth in a health facility, and tens of millions access safe abortion services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) all around the world. However, in the midst of this pandemic, bad policies and structural barriers may contribute to many people losing access to these essential services. Click here to learn more.
The Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises created this resource to provide programmatic guidance for decision making on sexual and reproductive health, including maternal and newborn health services, in fragile and humanitarian settings in face of threat or reality of COVID-19.
Global responses to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are converging with pervasive, existing sexual and reproductive health and justice inequities to disproportionately impact the health, wellbeing, and economic stability of women, girls, and vulnerable populations. Learn more about this issue here.
This article from the Lancet outlines the importance of incorporating a gender analysis into preparedness and response efforts during a health outbreak to improve the effectiveness of health interventions and promote gender and health equity goals.
UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency, is working to ensure that accurate information is provided to women of reproductive age and pregnant women on infection precautions, potential risks and how to seek timely medical care. The organization has prepared this statement on the topic.
This guide, led by UN Women and The Regional Risk Communication and Community Engagement, outlines populations at disproportionate risk in public health emergencies, and key implications for risk communication and community engagement.
Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex. This resource from the United Nations outlines the impact of COVID-19 on women.