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Military provision of maternal care in humanitarian and disaster relief operations
  1. Alexander Bishop1 and
  2. H Dewhurst2
  1. 1 Royal Navy Medical Service, Royal Navy, London, UK
  2. 2 Royal Army Medical Corps, Aldershot, UK
  1. Correspondence to Surg Lt Alexander Bishop, Royal Navy Medical Service, Royal Navy, London WC1N 1NP, UK; alexander.bishop105{at}mod.gov.uk

Abstract

With three-quarters of the 80 million people in need of humanitarian assistance being women or children in 2014, maternal care makes up a significant burden of medical care in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Due to lack of infrastructure and up to 80% of these displaced people being located in developing countries, mothers are often extremely vulnerable to disease, abuse and malnutrition. This can lead to late presentations of severe disease and birthing complications that would usually be easily manageable, but are far more complex due to the physical condition of the mother and lack of available resources. The British Armed Forces are often involved in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief either intentionally or due to the nature of the operations they carry out. However, it is not always possible to predict the requirement of maternal care. This humanitarian special edition article focuses on the factors impacting the maternal patient in a humanitarian environment, also looking at common pathologies and ways of managing these in a Role 1 facility. This is a paper commissioned as a part of the Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations special issue of BMJ Military Health.

  • gynaecology
  • public health
  • obstetrics
  • maternal medicine
  • prenatal diagnosis
  • fetal medicine

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Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. N/A.

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Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. N/A.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors The authors are the sole contributors to this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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