Liverpool caring for pregnant asylum seekers

Student midwives are starring in a new educational video about the experiences of pregnant women seeking asylum in the UK.

Asylum seekers are multiple times more likely to die from pregnancy or experience health difficulties because of their circumstances.

Now a charity in Liverpool has been commissioned by the NHS to “convey their voices” to healthcare professionals and student midwives.

LJMU is contributing to the film by providing a location – our world-class simulation suites – and many of the actors!  

Second-year student Sian Jones appears in the new film along with first-years Katy Humphries, Abi O’Rourke and Olivia McNeil and LJMU lecturer-midwives Georgie Keaney and Sarah McDonald.

Not only does Sian, who is from North Wales, have an acting background but she also is specifically studying the pregnancy journeys of asylum seekers.

Sian, who is on placement at Ormskirk Hospital but returned for a day filming at Tithebarn Street, said: “They’re filming me conducting a 27-week examination with Adelajda, a pregnant woman from Albania.

“It’s great that people are going to learn about their experiences, to start to understand what they go through.

“Women bidding for asylum often fear the authorities, they fear having to pay for health services, then there are communication problems and unsurprising a lot of mental health problems.”

The film is being made by Liverpool Lighthouse, a community arts charity that has previously performed a play around asylum seeker women and has teamed up with the Refugee Women Connect to understand the varied lived experiences.

Lighthouse’s Creative Director Rebecca Ross-Williams explained: “We know that in the UK, a Black woman living in poverty is five times more likely to die from pregnancy and we also know that for asylum seekers it is much more serious still.”

There is simply no data, she says, but what is certain is the lack of knowledge of their unique predicaments.

“Asylum seekers get moved around a lot which plays havoc with medical appointment, notes, advice, any continuity of care.”

Clare Maxwell, Reader in Maternal and Infant Health said: “LJMU will be one of the first Universities in the country to embed this educational resource within our midwifery programme, something that will benefit our students and ultimately the women and families they care for.”

Image: Student midwife Sian Jones during filming of 'Best for Baby' at LJMU's School of Public and Allied Health.






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