Press Release

International Day of the Midwife 2020 celebration “Midwives protect women and children in the time of COVID-19 pandemic”

24 July 2020

Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR 24 July 2020 - Lao Association of Midwives with support from the Department of Health Professional Education of the Ministry of Health organized a celebration for International Day of the Midwife 2020, supported by UNFPA.

5th May is the International Day of the Midwife and every year midwives all over the world celebrate their achievements and their contributions toward improving sexual, reproductive, maternal, and newborn health outcomes. The theme of this year was “Midwives protect women and children in the time of COVID-19 pandemic” which aims at building solidarity among midwives to face on-going COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard sexual and reproductive health of women and girls, as well as the health of children across the world and in Laos.

 

About 80 pregnant women attended to listen to correct information regarding preventive measures for COVID-19

This year, midwives in the Lao PDR have chosen to celebrate in July. On 23rd July at the Mother and Child Hospital, midwives held an open day for pregnant and reproductive-age women to attend a health education event and provided women with correct information regarding preventive measures for COVID-19, the importance of continuing to receive essential health services to avoid non-COVID health issues, and responded to women’s concerns and fears about the risk associated with pregnancy, as well as essential knowledge such as breastfeeding and nutrition during pregnancy. Around 200 women and families received not only health education on these important topics but also had opportunities to discuss with midwives their concerns, fears, and any worries that they had regarding COVID-19 and their pregnancies and general health.

On 24th July, 70 about 140 participants including front-line midwives from different regions, midwifery teachers, policymakers, and development partners gathered at Don Chan Palace hotel. In his opening remarks, the Deputy Health Minister, Mr. Bounseng Phoummalaysith, said that midwives are an important health cadre who not only provide essential care to women and the newborn but are instrumental in reducing maternal deaths in Laos. The second day was spent showcasing good midwifery practices in pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period including childcare to protect women and children’s health under challenging health situations in the COVID-19 pandemic. UNFPA continues to strengthen the capacity of the Lao Association of Midwives with technical inputs from the Lao Midwife Funds from Canada to support all midwives working in Laos. Now regional midwives are able to utilize the association’s network to encourage themselves to develop their profession, and to strive for protecting women and children while putting themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus.

“Midwives are central to the delivery of quality sexual and reproductive healthcare services and enabling women to lead productive healthy lives. Midwives are critical players in ensuring that women can enjoy the fulfillment of these rights. For midwives to continue to provide the essential healthcare and life-saving services to pregnant women and their newborns, UNFPA remains committed to protecting midwives, support midwives to provide safe and effective reproductive and child health care to women and children and maintaining and protecting the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNACAH) system”, said Mr. Victor Valdivieso, UNFPA Deputy Representative.

 

Members of the Lao Association of Midwives (LAM) organized the International Day of the Midwife 2020 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

In the pandemic of COVID-19, many women are stressed about the potential risk of infection while seeking care in the health facility, while many countries including Laos have experienced decline of the utilization of essential health services, which is a great concern of potential increase of non-COVID related mortality and morbidity including maternal and child deaths due to preventable causes.

International Day of the Midwife 2020 is the critical opportunity for midwives to highlight their important role in protecting women and children in the pandemic. All midwives must be provided with personal protective equipment to protect themselves and women when they provide health care. More investment in midwifery capacity development is needed to make sure all women and children can receive quality essential reproductive, maternal, and child health care. 

 

For more information please contact:

Ms. Siriphone Sakulku, SRH Programme Coordinator UNFPA Lao PDR

Email: ssakulku@unfpa.org