November 20, 2020

Partnership on Covid-19 ‘brings midwifery training into the 21st century’

With Covid-19 cases rising around the globe, our ways of working, teaching and learning have changed. Midwives, nurses and other frontline health workers are taking new precautionary measures to protect themselves and their patients from the virus, and work routines are constantly changing. A recent article in medical journal The Lancet shows that pregnant women, new mothers and their newborns are at higher risk of serious and long term effects of Covid-19, which places an even greater responsibility on their midwives and other health workers to have the right knowledge, skills and equipment to protect them from the virus the best way possible.

A digital partnership
When the Corona pandemic started to soar globally in the early spring, Maternity Foundation partnered up with Laerdal Global Health, UNFPA, and the International Confederation of Midwives, ICM, to develop and disseminate an immediate and digital response  for midwives and nurses to protect themselves, women and newborns from COVID-19. The Covid-19 content was made available on the Safe Delivery App as well as on other digital platforms, for instance World Continuing Education Alliance, WCEA, and includes information on infection prevention, breastfeeding, and vertical transmission.

To date, the covid-19 content is available in several language and country versions of the Safe Delivery App including English, French, Hindi, Ethiopian versions, as well as versions for Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, and with many more in the pipeline.

In countries and settings where we were already working before the pandemic, we could see a rise in downloads and an increase in the usage of the content on the app. Midwives and nurses would use the content more frequently and more concentrated to specifically address Covid-19.

At the same time, the Covid-19 content has opened for partnership to reach midwives and nurses in new parts of the world.

Among them is our partnerships with UNFPA Asia and South Pacific to create and conduct remote trainings with the Safe Delivery App for midwives in Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Maldives and Cambodia to better equip and prepare them to manage pregnancy and childbirth related cases in light of Covid-19.

The partnership includes trainings in antenatal care, post-natal care, Covid-19 management as well as country-specific adaptation of the Safe Delivery App for several countries, including Nepal and Cambodia.

A new way of training
Recently, our team conducted an online training for 12 midwives Papua New Guinea with the Safe Delivery App, and just the day after the training, we received an update from midwife Polycarp Iwik on how he had already used the Safe Delivery App to manage a case of septic miscarriage.

“The Safe Delivery App was very convenient in this instance because I was able to quickly go through the definitions, assessments and management of a patient with septic abortion. The information was readily available and in short and concise manner that helped refreshed the principles of management of this case which I learnt at school. It was also useful in disseminating information on diagnosis and management to the nursing staff attending to the case as well.”

Also Polycap Iwik’s colleague from Rumginae Rural Hospital  Dr. Kevin Pondikou, emphasised how the Safe Delivery App is a continuous source of support for nurses and midwives – and a chance to update their ways of working and learning:

“I am certain this app will go a very long way in helping to identify and manage life-threatening maternal health issues especially in the rural setting of this country. This app is incredible and, believe it or not, it brings Rumginae Rural Hospital into the 21st century.”