By Faranak Bakhtiari

Inspiring midwives on COVID-19 frontline

May 5, 2021 - 16:42

TEHRAN – Midwives along with the nurses have been on the front line fighting COVID-19, offering essential health services while being at high risk of infection.

International Day of the Midwife is celebrated on May 5 under the theme of “Follow the Data: Invest in Midwives” to advocate for investment in quality midwifery care around the world, improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health in the process.

Midwives are able to provide integrated services for all age groups due to the abilities and skills they acquire while studying, and therefore, according to the World Health Organization, they play a very important role in 52 vital indicators in reducing mortality and improving maternal, infants and children health.

18 midwives lost their lives fighting the pandemic

There are 17,567 midwives working in the country’s hospitals, 30 percent of whom work in coronavirus hospitals, Qasem Janbabaei, deputy minister of health, has said.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 3,100 midwives have so far been diagnosed with the disease, and 18 have lost their lives, he regretted.

Services provided by midwives include pregnancy screening, common cancer screening for women, pre-pregnancy care, pregnancy, and postpartum, high-risk maternity care, first-hour breastfeeding, and an active role in establishing child-friendly and mother-friendly hospitals, he stated.

He further highlighted the dedicated role of midwives in the fight against the pandemic, which is so precious, and appreciated their devotion.

From the beginning of the pandemic until March 20, out of a total of 573,285 natural deliveries, about 370,000 natural deliveries were performed by midwives in coronavirus hospitals, and about 15,000 pregnant mothers suspected of infection received services at these hospitals, he said.

The world short of 900,000 midwives

The world is currently facing a shortage of 900,000 midwives, which is one-third of the world's midwifery workforce. The COVID-19 epidemic crisis has exacerbated these problems as the health of mothers and infants has been overshadowed, midwifery services have been disrupted, or midwives have been employed in other areas of health care.

A global survey of 194 countries found that severe shortages of midwives resulted in horrific global casualties in the form of preventable deaths. The analysis in this report showed that the full provision of care services provided by midwives by 2035 can reduce 67 percent of maternal mortality, 64 percent of infant mortality, and 65 percent of stillbirths, saving 4.3 million people a year.

According to a recent study by UNFPA, WHO, and ICM, investing in midwives is a cost-effective way of improving health outcomes.

Medical staff efforts in light of pandemic

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, Iranian nurses have been at the forefront of the fight against the disease.

Many healthcare workers lost their lives or mourned their colleagues in the fight against COVID-19 disease and in the path toward saving the lives of people and patients. They worked around the clock to significantly control the epidemic and minimize the number of deaths.

In this difficult struggle, the increase in the disease caused a large number of doctors and nurses to fall ill and leave the service cycle, and their colleagues had to work three shifts so that no to leave any patients untreated.

According to the statistics of the Nursing Organization, about 140,000 nurses are employed in the country’s hospitals. Some 80,000 nurses have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 110 nurses have died from the disease so far.

Maryam Hazrati, the deputy health minister for nursing, said in May 2020 that some 65 percent of 200,000 nurses in the country were at the forefront of the coronavirus fight.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has praised the Iranian nurses for playing an effective role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic during the 8th “Triad Meeting” of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), and the WHO which was held online on June 16-18.

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