OPINION: Questions have to be asked about the Government's Covid strategy.
The Ministry of Health has told the college there is plenty of personal protective gear available, says the college’s midwifery advisor, quality assurance, Jacqui Anderson.
Getting that to rural areas is the issue.
“Urban areas are also having a little bit of trouble in some areas while it is better in others. The DHB’s are responsible for providing it,” she told Rural News.
“But the concern is about how that is getting to rural midwives.
“We at the college are looking at ways to provide access to that. The DHB has to provide the gear but we can help with the distribution.”
Anderson wants to assure rural women that midwives are still available and the first point of contact and are still providing care. That may just look a little different.
There are likely to be more virtual and phone consultations and any face to face consultations required may be shorter.
“The midwives may ask women to wear a mask and she will provide that for them. The midwife may wear a mask and gloves if she is doing a face to face visit.”
She says it is quite difficult right now because the Ministry of Health is suggesting if a woman has had no symptoms, hasn’t had any contact and is not classed as being at risk then midwives shouldn’t do that.
“But it is quite disconcerting the way some people are contracting this infection and nobody is quite sure where they have got it from.
“We are suggesting lots of caution. The women will notice the midwives are also washing their hands really frequently during visits and they will be cleaning equipment even more thoroughly than usual between clients.”
Women will be able to give birth in their planned birthing facility with their usual midwife unless they have being diagnosed with Covid-19, or have symptoms or risk factors. Then they will need to go to a specialised hospital facility.
The college has noticed a big rise in queries about home births. Many rural midwives are already set up to offer this service and have the necessary equipment.