A pregnant woman returned to her home in Sheikh Othman district crying in pain after hospitals refused to accept her due to the fear of coronavirus in Aden governorate. Her neighbor Ashwaq, a retired midwife no longer working in hospitals, couldn’t bear to hear her screams.    

At the beginning she tried not to respond to her calls as a protective measure, however her elderly mother insisted on her going and assisting her neighbor to give birth.

Ashwaq followed her instinct to save the life of her neighbor and her mother’s insistence helped her to overcome her fears. She went to their neighbor’s house and made a great effort to save the life of the mother and her baby. Ashwaq was happy and had a clear conscience because she performed her duty to a woman in need.   

Days passed and symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath started to appear in Ashwaq and her elderly mother. Her mother suffered from hypertension and diabetes. After a bitter struggle with coronavirus, her elderly mother died. Two days later, Ashwaq also died, after being infected with coronavirus while assisting her neighbor to give birth. Her neighbor and her husband were infected with the virus.

Ashwaq’s story is a story of sacrifice for many midwives who work in unsafe conditions and put their lives in danger to save other women. “Ashwaq is one out of four midwives that died due to COVID-19. Thirty-six midwives were infected with the virus while they were performing their humanitarian services,” said Fatoum Al-Wazir, Secretary-General of the National Association of Yemeni Midwives. 

Al-Wazir said to Belqees Channel, “Being a midwife is primarily a humanitarian job, to save the life of the mother and her baby. However, this job has subjected them to infectious diseases and fevers and risks of moving from one place to another.”