COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women and girls, thereby exacerbating existing inequalities. With unemployment rising, support networks disrupted, and lack of access to reproductive health information and services, there is a fear that this will result in an increase in unintended pregnancies, child marriage, school dropouts and sometimes, maternal mortality.
As part of the Covid-19 response, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) together with the Government of Australia is supporting capacity development initiatives of reproductive health service providers. In order to minimise the impacts of service disruption to maternal and child health care, UNFPA partnered with Maldives National University to train health service providers.
The disruption of services on an already overstretched health system and the deviation of resources from essential sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services are expected to increase the risk of maternal and child morbidity and mortality.
Before Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of pregnant mothers travelled to the capital Male and other urban settings to attend to antenatal care, delivery and other reproductive health services. With the onset of Covid-19 in Male, the epicentre of the community transmissions, and the imposed restrictions forced the women to change the delivery plans elsewhere.
Quick action by UNFPA Maldives brought together Maldives National University, health professionals at the island and atoll health facilities to refresh their skills and helped many health systems maintain or restore access to essential health services, including contraceptives.
Thanks to Safe Motherhood Foundation and Laerdal Global Health’s creative efforts – such as using Safe Delivery App helped undertake the training both theoretical and practical to maintain skills required to function during Covid-19 pandemic.
Today UNFPA hands over the training materials - mannequins and models - provided with generous support from Laerdal Global Health and DFAT Australia to continue the practical skills enhancement of the nurses and midwives and other health care professionals to take care of pregnant women during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum as well as family planning services.
UNFPA in the Maldives continues to support the Government of the Republic of Maldives, to ensure the delivery of a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.