Dear Ukrainian Council of Nurses and Midwives,
The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) joins the worldwide condemnation of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces and offers our heartfelt support to midwives supporting women and families through horrific circumstances. Many of our members have reached out to us to express their distress, sadness, and anger.
We know that maternal, newborn and child health in Ukraine is in crisis because of this conflict and that the 4.3 million refugees who have already escaped to neighbouring countries are also placing those healthcare systems under stress too. We appreciate as well that there are significant challenges finding basic care items for babies.
Since the war began on 24th February, we have heard accounts of women giving birth in bunkers and newborns being transported to makeshift bomb shelters. We were appalled by the images of the aftermath of the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol and know that bombing of maternity hospitals and children’s hospitals continues. This indiscriminate targeting of women and children must stop.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates 80,000 women will give birth in the next three months in Ukraine—many without access to critical maternal health care. As midwives, we work hard to ensure a physically and emotionally safe birth space for the women in our care. To the midwives of Ukraine, our hearts are with you, and we acknowledge how devastating it must be to have the ability to perform this fundamental aspect of your work stripped from you. What you and pregnant women are enduring in Ukraine, at a time in their lives when they are most vulnerable, is horrific and unimaginable.
Please know we stand in solidarity with you.
Acting Chief Executive Officer and Principal Midwifery Officer
Australian College of Midwives