In times of chaos and crisis, people tend to look for heroes — or they step up and become one themselves. Having surpassed more than 2,400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, a number steadily growing, it’s clear that more needs to be done. At ASSIST, we understand our unique role and responsibility to help our communities and support our heroes. We have engaged with midwives, who care for very vulnerable populations (pregnant women, new mothers, and infants), across the country and empowered them as Champions of Community Care.
ASSIST’s ongoing partnership with Project HOPE has expanded to launch this pilot COVID-19 training program for midwives nationwide. The project’s first goal has already been exceeded, with more than 150 Master Trainers or Champions now able to cascade the training on COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Management and Vaccines to thousands of other midwives and midwifery students across different regions of the Philippines. But perhaps one of the biggest impacts of this project that we are already able to see is the creation of new platforms for midwives to connect with and support one another.
Midwives live with the people they care for in the farthest flung and hardest to reach provinces in the Philippines, thus are more trusted, more accessible, and more capable of connecting with people. The midwives we work with acknowledge that in the community of healthcare workers they are sometimes overlooked, but it’s at these grassroot levels that people face the most challenges, as a lot of healthcare support doesn’t reach them. Still, even before the pandemic, midwives have been going above and beyond their duties.
One of our Master Trainers, a retired midwife and senior citizen living in Canada, turns on her computer to connect with midwives in the Philippines over Zoom until midnight or later. She and many other participants in the program feel a strong sense of duty to ensure their fellow Filipino midwives are protected and able to continue to protect
Midwives know what their communities need and are situated to respond to those needs accordingly. Their unique role means they wear multiple hats and play various roles in contact tracing, vaccine administration, and more in addition to their existing work in prenatal and postpartum care. These overlooked healthcare workers that have toiled day and night since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic should widely be recognized as modern day heroes and we will continue to uphold these midwives and future midwives as our Champions of Community Care.
To access these materials and share them with your communities or for partnership inquiries, please contact Franz Raña, Social Actions Manager at [email protected]
This article is published in the October-December 2021 issue of the ASSIST Now newsletter.