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Global health professionals are helping to improve the care of pregnant women during the pandemic

Global health professionals are joining the latest in a series of online expert workshops aimed at improving the care of pregnant women during the current COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

The latest webinar 'Vaccination for Pregnant Women and the Health Professionals caring for them’ is on Saturday 20 March at 11.00 BST / 16:30 IST – an opportunity to learn and ask questions about vaccination and its impact on mothers-to-be and their unborn babies.

The University of Birmingham is hosting the webinar series with international women’s health charity Elly – mums-to-be and healthcare professionals can register for Saturday’s event online.

Chaired by Prof Shakila Thangaratinam, co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women's Health at the University of Birmingham, the webinar will also feature contributions from:

  • Professor Paul T. Heath, from the Vaccine Institute, St George's, University of London – how the vaccines relate to women wanting to get pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding;
  • Dr Gloria Rowland MBE, Chief Nurse at South West London Health and Care Partnership - low vaccine uptake in certain groups and the range of beliefs from health professionals;
  • Mr Rehan Khan, consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, specialist in Maternal Medicine, and Dean for Education at Barts Health - health inequalities in access to the vaccine and resources currently available to help both women and the obstetric community

Professor Shakila Thangaratinam commented: “There has been little debate or information about the impact of COVID-19 vaccination on pregnant women and the health professionals caring for them.”

“We want this to be an opportunity to provide clarity in this vaccine-hesitant climate, sharing the experiences of vaccination amongst health professionals and reaching ethnic minority populations who may have conflicting health and lay perspectives.”

Professor Thangaratinam leads the PregCOV-19 project - an online resource bringing together research on the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on expectant mothers and their babies which will help to inform guidelines and treatment pathways.

The project, led by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women’s Health at the University of Birmingham, aims to evaluate the rapidly emerging evidence on maternal and offspring outcomes and risks in women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Ramesan Navaratnarajah from Elly Charity, commented: “We want to provide an opportunity for women, healthcare professionals and the wider public to get an evidence based perspective on COVID-19 vaccination before, during, and shortly after pregnancy.

“By enabling questions to be asked and learning to be shared from those with first hand experience we hope to improve our understanding about COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and help us all make more informed decisions.”

  • For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)782 783 2312 - +44 (0) 7789 921 165 out-of-hours - or Ngawai Moss, Elly Charity Manager.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Elly Charity works to promote and protect women’s health in the UK and internationally by training and educating healthcare workers in how to provide optimal care during pregnancy and childbirth. It supports research excellence in women’s health with a focus on accelerating the application of research into healthcare environments. It became a Registered Charity in 2020.