I think the challenges during the pandemic are the amplified challenges that midwives already faced prior to the pandemic. Those include lack of midwifery involvement in health system planning and pandemic planning at various levels. Also, for midwives to be recognized as essential health workers, and have the access to supplies, equipment and support that other health care providers have. Other challenges include the vast amount and often conflicting information and protocols that are provided. Finally, the challenges regarding the anxiety and uncertainness of the clients and their families that we serve.
Increasing virtual visits has been helpful. Previously, our clinic had tried offering more virtual visits for our rural and remote clients to varying success, but now I feel much more confident and able to provide such care. Because non-essential health services are cut, it is easy to get urgent ultrasounds or assessments which is really handy. The care providers are also on high alert for any mild symptom which might have previously been a normal discomfort of pregnancy might be a mild COVID symptom.
A recent workday includes planning to assist at an elective c-section, however finding out that her partner and child had a cough, so the team decides to postpone the c-section for 24 hours in order to get COVID testing. Followed by an afternoon of clinic which is about half virtual (one quarter on the phone and one quarter video-conferencing) and half in-person. Wearing a mask, gloves and glasses at each client encounter and wipe every item down thoroughly after any interaction.
I think as a healthcare team and society knowing that we are all on this together. I feel very fortunate that I am still able to work and have support with my young family. I have really enjoyed seeing how the community has mobilized to get through this crisis together.
I think this is a really excellent time to demonstrate the value and contributions that midwifery brings to the healthcare system.