Military provision of maternal care in humanitarian and disaster relief operations

Type: Article

Description: 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.

Author: Alexander Bishop and H. Dewhurst

Published in: BMJ Military Health Vol. 168, Issue 6 pp. 492-497

Publisher: BMJ Journals

Publication date and place: 2022, London, United Kingdom

Publication webpage:


  • Vulnerability
  • Vulnerable Groups
  • Civil Military Cooperation
  • Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) 
  • Human Security

Citation and abstract used by permission of BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. / BMJ Military Health / License 5718191505661 / Jan 29, 2024