Saturday, December 4

Women face giving birth without the presence of their partners due to the MIQ bottleneck

Couples hoping to reunite before their baby arrives find themselves caught in the bottleneck of MIQ reserves.

A file photo shows a midwife with a pregnant woman.

File photo.
Photo: 123RF

Some emergency requests to skip the line at border hotels are being rejected, even when they meet the criteria.

Since October 30 last year, 229 people have applied for an emergency assignment and mentioned “pregnancy” as a reason.

Some are people who want to come to New Zealand to give birth, while others are already here, but want to meet a partner or support person who is abroad.

Officials have approved only one in 10, 23 of those applications, while 136 are still “ongoing” or have been canceled by the applicant.

Among the around 70 who were rejected is that of Roshni Sami’s husband, who is trapped in the United States, while she is alone in New Zealand seven and a half months pregnant and “in panic.”

“It’s just awful. It’s awful. It’s stressful. It uses up. It has a huge impact on me. I’m really worried about my stress levels, as are my doctors and midwife,” she said.

“I think the first wake-up call for me was when I went alone to my 20 week exam. My mom and my close friend, who sometimes came with me, couldn’t come and I was alone. My sonographer I asked how things were going and I said – I’m actually very worried. “

Driving to pick up a stroller cover on Saturday, she said it again reminded her why she shouldn’t be alone in her third trimester when her car was hit by a drunk driver.

She escaped unscathed but in shock, and spent a long night getting ultrasounds to check for complications for the baby.

Another woman, Hannah*, He said his partner needed to get to Australia and return after sustaining a bad back injury.

She cannot have the surgery in New Zealand, however she is expecting a child early next year and they are concerned that she will not get a place at MIQ upon her return.

“It’s the unknown that really frustrates us,” he said.

“We wanted to have this surgery done before the baby is born next year, but there is no way of knowing when he might go to Australia and then come back.”

At this time, there is no specific emergency allocation category for MIQ related to pregnancy.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said that people could be eligible if they can demonstrate that they travel to provide critical care to a dependent person, and that no one else can provide such ‘critical care’.

But meeting that criterion still does not guarantee a place, he explained in a statement, because “it depends on the number of applicants and the places available.”

“These decisions are not easy to make and we are understanding of the distressing situations that people applying for an emergency assignment find themselves in. However, we must balance each individual request with our fundamental work to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders and the limited capacity available in isolation facilities managed by bed sequencing as they become available. “

“MIQ must also prioritize applications to ensure they reflect the most urgent and critical situations over time.”

Sami has launched a legal offer in High Court to obtain a last minute emergency assignment for her husband.

You also want better rights for other people in the same situation.

Sami is in a Facebook chat with 13 pregnant women who have missed MIQ spots for themselves or their partner, and all of their emergency requests have been rejected.

They ask that pregnancy be included in the emergency allocation criteria.

“Like most people, I assumed that there is an emergency system, so if you encounter difficulties, if you are in a critical situation, there is a remedy for that. What I found out is that the remedy doesn’t fully work … for your account, “he said.

Hannah said, 20 months after the pandemic, health authorities should have done a lot more by now.

“It is absolutely wrong to tell these women that they have to give birth without their support person.”

Meanwhile, clinical psychologist Jacqui Macguire said her advice to couples was to reach out to as many support networks as they could and accept the situation, even if it’s not ideal.

“It’s unfair. Nobody wants to be in this position … thinking about MIQ and if their partner can be with them,” he said.

“We just have to be in a place of acceptance. Frustration and stress are not good for you and they are not good for your baby.”

The MBIE did not respond when asked if it would consider revising the criteria.

He declined RNZ’s request for an interview.

* Name changed for privacy.

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