Jones, Susan, Sam, Betty, Bull, Florence, Pieh, Steven Bagie, Lambert, Jaki, Mgawadere, Florence, Gopalakrishnan, Somasundari, Ameh, Charles A. and van den Broek, Nynke (2017) ‘Even when you are afraid, you stay’: Provision of maternity care during the Ebola virus epidemic: A qualitative study. Midwifery, 52. pp. 19-26. ISSN 0266-6138

Objective: to explore nurse-midwives understanding of their role in and ability to continue to provide routine and emergency maternity services during the time of the Ebola virus disease epidemic in Sierra Leone.
Design: a hermenuetic phenomenological approach was used to discover the lived experiences of nursemidwives through 66 face to face interviews. Following verbatim transcription, an iterative approach to data analysis was adopted using framework analysis to discover the essence of the lived experience.
Setting: health facilities designated to provide maternity care across all 14 districts of Sierra Leone.
Participants: nurses, midwives, medical staff and managers providing maternal and newborn care during the Ebola epidemic in facilities designated to provide basic or emergency obstetric care.
Findings: the healthcare system in Sierra Leone was ill prepared to cope with the epidemic. Fear of Ebola and mistrust kept women from accessing care at a health facility. Healthcare providers continued to provide maternity care because of professional duty, responsibility to the community and religious beliefs.
Key conclusions: nurse-midwives faced increased risks of catching Ebola compared to other health workers but continued to provide essential maternity care.
Implications for practice: future preparedness plans must take into account the impact that epidemics have on the ability of the health system to continue to provide vital routine and emergency maternal and newborn health care. Healthcare providers need to have a stronger voice in health system rebuilding and planning and management to ensure that health service can continue to provide vital maternal and newborn care during epidemics

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