Over 11,000 babies have been born in Ireland’s hospitals since the arrival of COVID-19 in late February, new analysis from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) shows.
The figures mark International Day of the Midwife (May 5), which celebrates and recognises the role of midwives in delivering expert care and supporting women and babies. 2020 is also the WHO’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
The INMO’s estimated projection is based on an analysis of the past ten years of birth statistics between February 27and May 5.
There are 1,479 staff midwives working in the public health service. This is below the scientifically recommended ratio of one midwife to every 29.5 births.
The INMO is calling on all parties to not only recognise the work done by midwives, but to ensure that staffing levels are set scientifically.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“As COVID-19 puts pressure our health service, midwives are there for mothers and babies, providing care, comfort, advocacy and advice.
“While much has been put on hold during the pandemic, childbirth has continued as normal. Today alone, midwives in Ireland will welcome over 150 new people to the world.
“The skill and dedication of midwives not only deserves recognition, but support. Consistent understaffing has put midwifery under pressure, leaving overworked staff to pick up the slack.
“The next government must ensure that the promise of safe staffing in the National Maternity Strategy is upheld, and staffing numbers set by scientific safe levels.”