Midwifery Response to International Disasters

By Maggie Sullivan Moderator | 24 Mar, 2011 Last edited by Sophie Beauvais on 05 May 2011

The question of how midwives can respond to international disasters is an important one. I have cross-posted this question from another listserve in the hopes that some of you may be able to contribute to the conversation. One response has been posted by an individual with Maternova (www.maternova.net) with some helpful tools that may also be of use to this community. Please contribute any other ideas or suggestions you may have.

Question by Sarah Stewart via a forum for discussion on midwifery and reproductive health research ():

* Is there a strategy for a midwifery response to international disasters, and where can I find it?
* Is there a central point that coordinates midwifery responses to international disasters?
* Is anyone looking at the role of social media in the midwifery response to international disasters?
* Does anyone know of any organisations or individuals who are using social media to filter midwifery information to victims of international disasters?

I am thinking about facilitating a discussion or forum about midwifery and international disasters for the Virtual International Day of the Midwife (http://internationaldayofthemidwife.wikispaces.com) on the 5th May - I am especially interested in developing strategy etc around virtual responses to disasters. For example, after the Haiti earthquake, there was a campaign to provide virtual resources to a school of nursing/midwifery who had been demolished - volunteers were unable to take textbooks to Haiti because of weight allowances on aeroplanes. I would be grateful if anyone could put me in touch with people with experience, expertise or interest in this area so that I could approach them about being on this panel.

Response by Meg Wirth of Maternova:

First, maternova distributes simple obstetric kits and small power paks (headlamp + mobile phone charger) that fit in a suitcase for those travelling overseas. We are also helping to distribute a terrific video on managing postpartum hemorrhage.. this DVD and the obstetric paks are meant to go with travelling midwives who are responding to a disaster. We developed the kits in response to one midwife who advises us.. She went to Haiti two days after the earthquake and found no supplies... she was told 'you got there too fast.' We aim to make supplies readily available for those travelling overseas to Haiti, Japan, Pakistan, Sudan, and anywhere.


We also have access to full obstetric backpacks with everything one might need for managing births.

There are people who are very good at mapping in disaster situations, but nothing specific to midwifery. We would like to offer our mapping service as a place to track where midwives are deploying in a specific disaster. We can create a 'widget' focused in on a specific area (nation, province, district, city) and can highlight specific facilities where midwives are going or are needed


We would also like to play a role in mapping obstetric and MCH facilities. With our mapping software we are able to pinpoint precise geocoordinates of obstetric facilities... we can do this for Japan based on on-the-ground information currently, but we should also do this for every country so that the baseline information is there in the unfortunate event of a tragedy like Japan and Haiti have experienced We have the technology and capability ready to go. We have already developed such a map with the Safe motherhood Committee in Chiapas and can do so for any other area. We actively seek partners to do this.


Postings courtesy of Sarah Stewart, Meg Wirth, Maternova, a forum for discussion on midwifery and reproductive health research (), and Global Alliance of Nursing and Midwifery (GANM).



Sarah Stewart Replied at 2:49 AM, 22 Apr 2011

Hello everyone

We'll be discussing this issue on May 5th, the Virtual International Day of the Midwife at 23.00 hours New Zealand: http://internationaldayofthemidwife.wikispaces.com/International+Day+of+the+M...

The is a free online conference - all welcome to attend and join the discussion

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