International Day of the Midwife |06 May 2020
Country’s leaders urged to protect midwives
Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for midwives to be protected so they can continue to keep women and newborns safe.
The call comes in a message from the president of the Nurses Association of the Republic of Seychelles (Nars), Rosie Bistoquet, on the occasion of the International Day of the Midwife celebrated yesterday, May 5.
Ms Bistoquet’s message reads:
“May 5, each year, the International Day of the Midwife honours the life-saving work of midwives everywhere. This year’s theme – ‘Midwives with women; Celebrate, demonstrate, mobilize, unite, our time is now’ – was established in 2016 through the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) strategy for 2017-2020 based on three main midwifery principles – Quality, Equity, Leadership.
“2020 started with the embracement of WHO’s declaration of 2020 The International Year for Midwives. This was to boost up the midwives practices and morale, and aimed at ‘Valuing midwives contributions in the health sector including Seychelles’.
The theme for this year is so relevant for 2020. May 5, 2020 would have been the peak crescendo of the celebration, but as health professionals we are mindful of the threats of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has redirected the health system’s attention on parameters to prevent and reduce new infections and care for those infected or affected. The challenges of supporting pregnant women during COVID-19, from a midwife’s perspective, are very crucial. Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has already infected more than a million people worldwide including Seychelles, midwives are unsung heroes working on the frontlines.
“The Nurses Association of the Republic of Seychelles urges all midwives practicing to understand that all the pregnant women are placed in a particularly difficult position. Many fear that giving birth in a hospital could expose them or their newborns to the virus, through strict infection control measures are in place. Many have restricted the number of people who can be present during and after the birth, and some require new parents to wear masks around their newborns. But still, a growing number of parents-to-be are looking to give birth in an environment where they and their babies will not be exposed to COVID-19 infection. Therefore in this current pandemic, midwives, your life-saving skills go far beyond, making sure the mothers and babies are healthy during pregnancy, maintain deliveries of babies without complications, educate and empower to enable women to breastfeed and lead healthy family lives at home with their babies. To do these, midwives under the ‘new normal’ national parameters, midwives who serve patients outside of hospitals are crucial to maintaining the safe distancing measures necessary to curb the spread of the disease. Post natal visits can be minimised for midwives to offer phone-based antenatal and post-natal care, then the more people able to avoid transmitting or becoming infected by the coronavirus.
“While the novel coronavirus sweeps the world, including Seychelles, women continue to get pregnant and give birth. For each preconception counselling given, booking conducted, antenatal care given, delivery performed, postnatal care assisted, referring or calling for obstetrical interventions undertaken are the constant reminders and demonstrations of the invaluable and essential care midwives provide to ensure safe pregnancies and births. Midwives also provide the information and contraceptive counselling that women and young people need, even in times of crisis.
“Midwives in Seychelles play a critical role in responding to public health emergencies like COVID-19. They are essential to the strong, resilient health systems we need to survive the coronavirus. The Nurses Association urges the health sector not to jeopardize essential sexual and reproductive health services by diverting midwives to serve as emergency personnel except in thoughtful and consultative evidenced-based decisions.
As frontline health workers, midwives are particularly vulnerable to the virus. That means pregnant women and babies are at risk, too. We must take urgent action to protect midwives. This includes providing all midwives with the same personal protective equipment that other front-line health workers use to insulate themselves from contagion.
“Life goes on despite the pandemic; pregnancy and childbirth are no exception. In this difficult time for all, and particularly for health care professionals, country leaders, let's do everything in our power to protect midwives so they can continue to keep women and newborns safe. They are strategic health care professionals in the promotion, maintenance the national key indicators for life-expectancy .
“Together with the Nurses and Midwives Association other partners stand with the world’s midwives practicing in Seychelles, both in public and private health facilities, today and every day.
“HAPPY DAY TO ALL MIDWIVES IN SEYCHELLES!”
President of the Nurses Assoiation of the Republic of Seychelles (Nars)
- Midwifery is the health science and health profession that deals with pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period (including care of the newborn), in addition to the sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwifery)