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The Inspiring Role of a Midwife Amid COVID-19

Midwives play a critical role towards averting preventable maternal and newborn deaths, particularly during pandemics and other humanitarian situations. Moses’ story showcases one of many inspiring efforts by frontline health workers, who despite being at risk themselves, continue to save lives in some of the most hard to reach communities. 

Moses Nkosi was born and raised in rural Eastern Province of Zambia, in a family of seven. Despite the many social and economic challenges he faced growing up, he remained determined to pursue his ambition of building a career in the health sector. "As a child, I became critically ill. While recieving treatment at a local health centre in my village, I drew inspiration from the health staff who dedicated their time to caring for me. Today, I am living that dream by using my skills to save lives in rural Western Zambia as a midwife" says Moses with a smile on his face.

During a UNFPA humanitarian mission to Sioma District of Western Province, Moses shared his experience on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected health service delivery for mothers and newborns in his duty station that covers a population of over 7,000.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Province, we have recorded a reduction in antenatal care attendance, with many women citing fear of contracting the virus at health facilities. Additionally, we also experienced low institutional deliveries as well as high rates of unsafe abortions” highlights Moses.

Noting the above challenges, Moses dedicated his time to go beyond the call of duty by undertaking community sensitization and engagements with key stakeholders and traditional leaders, in addition to his onsite work at the health facility. “I have had several meetings with the traditional leaders to lobby for their support in ensuring that no woman delivers at home. In my monthly outreach, I have also spent time to share information with women on the importance of accessing antenatal care and skilled delivery among others, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As part of the UN Zambia joint efforts to prevent and respond to COVID-19, UNFPA continues to provide technical and financial support for the retention of midwives deployed to areas critically affected by lack of staff to ensure continuity of maternal health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.