pairman1_RAUL ARBOLEDAAFP via Getty Images_midwifecolombia Raul Arboleda/AFP via Getty Images

Protecting Midwives and Mothers During the Pandemic

As health systems battle to contain COVID-19, care for mothers-to-be has become a low priority. To keep midwives safe and enable them to continue providing women-centered care, governments, international donor agencies, and philanthropic organizations must allocate more funding for maternal health services.

THE HAGUE/WASHINGTON, DC – As the world struggles to control COVID-19, the global health workforce is under increasing strain – and woman-centered, midwife-led care is more at risk than ever.

The current crisis is stretching health-care facilities to the limit, as shortages of both staff and resources place intense pressure on services. Harrowing accounts from midwives on the front line highlight human-rights concerns, the over-medicalization of birth, and growing distress among them and pregnant women alike. In the battle to contain COVID-19, care for mothers-to-be has become a low priority.

Midwives are vital to the health and protection of women in childbirth. In 2017, an estimated 295,000 women worldwide died from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth – the vast majority of them in low-income and lower-middle-income countries. Most of these deaths were preventable. Throughout this health emergency, we must ensure that midwife-led care is maintained as far as possible.

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