Maternal and newborn care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya: re-contextualising the community midwifery model

Hum Resour Health. 2020 Oct 7;18(1):75. doi: 10.1186/s12960-020-00518-3.


Peripartum deaths remain significantly high in low- and middle-income countries, including Kenya. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted essential services, which could lead to an increase in maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity. Furthermore, the lockdowns, curfews, and increased risk for contracting COVID-19 may affect how women access health facilities. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that requires a community-centred response, not just hospital-based interventions. In this prolonged health crisis, pregnant women deserve a safe and humanised birth that prioritises the physical and emotional safety of the mother and the baby. There is an urgent need for innovative strategies to prevent the deterioration of maternal and child outcomes in an already strained health system. We propose strengthening community-based midwifery to avoid unnecessary movements, decrease the burden on hospitals, and minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection among women and their newborns.

Keywords: Africa; COVID-19; Community Interventions; Community health; Coronavirus; Kenya; LMIC; Maternal; Midwifery; Neonatal; Pandemic; Pregnant women.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care / organization & administration*
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Midwifery*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • SARS-CoV-2