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Maternal health advocate Myleene Klass meets midwives providing vital support to vulnerable pregnant women in Colombia  

Maternal health advocate and long-term Save the Children ambassador Myleene Klass has travelled to the Colombian border to meet pregnant women and the midwives providing them with the vital support they need to give birth safely. 

During the visit, Myleene met mothers and healthcare staff at an Emergency Health Unit, set up by Save the Children, and the midwives who run outreach programmes to local communities including Colombia’s largest informal settlement to provide antenatal check-ups and maternal education. 

Myleene’s visit comes as new analysis from the charity found that, globally, 24 million women will give birth this year without the support of a doctor, midwife or nurse – that’s 46 births every minute, making mothers and children more vulnerable than ever. The findings show how during times of conflict, climate-related disasters and humanitarian emergencies, the availability of maternal healthcare diminishes significantly.

Speaking of her visit, Myleene said: 

“As a mother I just cannot comprehend how pregnant women, so many pregnant women every week, are having to put themselves in danger, travelling for days, just to get the maternal and newborn health care they vitally need. 

"I’ve been blown away by the care and compassion of the healthcare staff at the Save the Children’s Emergency Health Unit in Colombia, who are working tirelessly to ensure the mothers are supported and their children are born safely into the world. The mums I’ve met are all striving to provide the best for their children, despite the circumstances they have come from.  

"I think the thing that binds us, the commonality that we all have as mums – is we just want the absolute best for our children. No woman should have to give birth alone and risk losing their baby or their life – it’s shocking and totally unacceptable.”

“La Pista” – or “Runway” - that Myleene visited is so-called due to its location at a disused airport in the city of Maicao. The camp is home to over 14,000 people, many of them people on the move. There, she heard accounts of the difficulties mothers faced getting to Colombia and how local midwives, trained by Save the Children, had provided a lifeline of support when they needed it most.  

She said:

“I met Maria*, a young pregnant woman, who has settled in the settlement, and her story is just one of so many that is replicated across the camp. She came here, after travelling in challenging conditions for two days, surviving only on the water she could get so she could access the healthcare she needed for her and her baby. 

"Making this journey is hard enough – but thinking that mothers do this whilst pregnant is utterly heartbreaking. Living here, not having your family around you – she lives in a very vulnerable environment and is being so strong. 

"But the shining light in this situation is the care and support of the maternal healthcare workers, visiting the camp each week to give women like Maria the health check-ups they need to keep safe during pregnancy, and educating them on how to care for their newborns. 

"I even got to take part in one of the breastfeeding clinics, which brought it all back to me from when I had my babies. It’s so humbling to see how this support is helping children not just survive but thrive, and delivering lasting change for them and their families.”

Myleene, who successfully campaigned to change miscarriage laws in the UK, is a passionate advocate on maternal health and has been an ambassador for Save the Children for over 10 years. Ahead of International Day of the Midwife this Sunday (5th May), she’s fronting Save the Children new maternal health campaign, Expecting Better, which aims to create lasting change for children around the world and for women everywhere to be able to expect better maternal healthcare for themselves and their baby. 

Save the Children believes no woman should have to give birth alone and risk losing their baby or their life, the charity trains midwives all over the world to create lasting change for children from the moment they enter the world. To find out more about how Save the Children is helping children and their families please visit www.savethechildren.org.uk


Data sourced from Save the Children’s briefing, Silent Emergency: Women Dying to Give Life. Methodoloy:

The figures are calculations done by Save the Children UK’s research and data hub using publicly available demographic and health statistics. We use the latest available data points on births attended by a skilled health professional (%) and births in a health facility (%) from UNICEF Data.https://data.unicef.org/topic/maternal-health/delivery-care/ Projections on total new births in 2024 is taken from World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Countries affected by conflict are identified by the World Bank classification for Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations for the current financial year. All figures are expressed in millions.