The New Zealand College of Midwives is calling on the Ministry of Health to urgently review its recommendations around the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for midwives.
The College Chief Executive, Alison Eddy, is today making very clear that midwives feel that the current provision of PPE as well as the PPE guidelines confirmed by the Ministry on Friday are not providing the confidence needed for both women and midwives. She has reiterated support for the midwives’ union MERAS, which has also come out today with the same call.
“We appreciate this is a challenging time for everyone and our focus is keeping midwives, women and babies safe. There is ¹emerging international evidence that healthcare workers overseas have been inadvertently exposed to Covid-19 whilst caring for women during labour and birth. Midwives work during labour and birth is by nature ‘up close and personal’, putting them at risk of exposure. In addition, midwives are providing community based care in all areas including those areas that have been subsequently designated as COVID-19 clusters. Therefore, it is imperative for the Ministry of Health to review its PPE recommendations,” she says.
Alison Eddy adds that we must err of the side of caution, and if there is enough PPE available, as has been communicated by the Ministry and Government, it must be made available to midwives immediately.
“Babies will keep coming, we need to protect our frontline health workers, pregnant women, new mums and the wider community. We can’t effectively do this without the right equipment and enough of it.”
Ms Eddy says the College has made this clear to the Ministry again today and implores them to review its recommendations on the use of PPE and ensure that sufficient PPE is available for midwives across the country, immediately.