STARK REALITY FOR PREGNANT WOMEN: Three maternal deaths in the past six weeks; 10 since March 2020

STARK REALITY FOR PREGNANT WOMEN: Three maternal deaths in the past six weeks; 10 since March 2020

COVID-19 could tremendously impact the country’s maternal mortality rate

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — There have been 10 maternal deaths at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and three within the past six weeks, said Head of PMH Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Dr Richard Braham.

During a Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) press conference on Friday, Braham outlined the “stark reality” of the impact of the pandemic on the department and the unprecedented number of infections and deaths being seen among pregnant women.

He advised that PMH has cared for 130 women with COVID-19, 74 of whom were admitted during the current third wave of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“We have had many stillbirths [and] many a premature delivery in order to try and help save the mother,” Braham said.

He noted that the challenges of increasing COVID-19 cases and patients are only underscored by the lack of proper structure at the facility to accommodate patients and ensure the delivery of quality healthcare.

He said the staff and midwives have been pushed “over the brink” and have had to truncate services for other non-COVID-19 patients.

“We are hampered by space. We are hampered by staff. We are hampered by fatigue. We are hampered by mental breakdown constantly, daily; yet our staff comes to work with a steady face to do their best,” Braham added.

“It is disheartening. We have lost midwives. We have lost colleagues. We have lost doctors. We have lost patients. This cannot continue for much longer.

“Our resources, our staffing, has been stretched beyond the capacity of what we can do and we still need to care for everyone; we do not turn away anyone.”

The OBGYN Department head urged Bahamians and residents to get vaccinated and follow all COVID-19 protocols, including social distancing, mask-wearing and washing your hands.

Braham further noted that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

He warned: “We will have a tremendous stain on our maternal mortality…if people do not adhere to protocols and standards.”

About Sloan Smith Sloan has spent the past four years as a lead news writer immersed in the field, covering a range of investigative breaking news developments. She produces daily salient pieces on natural disasters, crime, politics, policy, human-interest, and socioeconomic realities.