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The Coronavirus Pandemic: UK Healthcare System Failing Pregnant Black British Women


By Shola Adenekan

Tuesday, June 16, 2020.


The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is calling for urgent action as a new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) today shows more than half of pregnant women recently admitted to UK hospitals with a COVID-19 infection were from Black, Asian or other ethnic minority (BAME) groups. 

RCM Chief Executive Gill Walton believes a clear and urgent direction and leadership is needed from the Government to tackle this issue.

“Even before the pandemic, women from Black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to die in and around their pregnancy,” she points out. “This crisis has exacerbated this, putting women at risk. Help and support is there for these women, but we need to ensure it is accessible for the communities most in need of it.

Other recent studies have shown the coronavirus pandemic is having a more devastating effect on Black Britain as well as other ethnic minority groups. A report commissioned by the UK Government, which the Conservative Party administration is trying to suppress, reveals that racism and discrimination suffered by Black Britons and Asian and minority ethnic people has contributed to the high death rates from Covid-19 in those communities.  Non-white Britons are more likely to experience racism when accessing healthcare in Britain. 

But the RCM says it has already launched a targeted campaign to raise awareness amongst pregnant women from BAME backgrounds and to reassure them and their families that help is available during the pandemic. 

The poster campaign reiterates the message that maternity services are open, alongside four key messages: 

        ·  If you have a cough, are breathless or feel hot and shivery, call your midwife

·  Attend all your appointments. Some maybe by phone or via video

·  If you are worried about your baby’s movements or if you are bleeding call your midwife immediately.

·  Make a private space for you and your midwife during home visits.


Gill Walton added: “Despite the huge efforts of midwives and their maternity colleagues, black and Asian women are still at unacceptable risk. The system is failing them and that has got to change quickly, because they matter, their lives matter and they deserve the best and safest care.”


The Coronavirus Pandemic: UK Healthcare System Failing Pregnant Black British Women

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