Meet Kirsty Lowe, Research Associate in Midwifery

News article 26 Jul 2018

The Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health is delighted to welcome Kirsty Lowe, who is joining our antenatal and postnatal care team as a Research Associate in Midwifery.

Who are you?
I am a registered midwife from Manchester and I’ve been working in the UK and internationally for over 10 years. I’ve worked as a midwife in low- and middle-income settings and more recently as part of an emergency response team in a complex humanitarian setting.

For me, listening to the voices of women and girls and advocating for their needs and rights is the most important part of my role as a midwife. The care that a woman has in her pregnancy, birth and after her baby is born is intrinsic to how her and her family will function in society. Being a part of this care as a midwife is an honour. I am proud to belong to this group of essential healthcare providers who play a vital role in saving lives and improving care for women, their newborns and entire families globally. I am passionate about supporting and advocating for not only women, but also the maternal health workforce, so that midwives and other healthcare providers feel empowered and equipped to provide high quality care in a supportive, respectful way.

Where were you before LSTM?
I was working as a community midwife in the NHS, supporting women with complex health and social needs; many of these women were refugees and asylum seekers. I’ve gained interchangeable skills from every setting I’ve worked in. For example, working as a midwife and sexual gender based violence focal person during the Rohingya crisis gave me a valuable insight into the needs of women and girls seeking asylum in the UK and vice versa.

Internationally, I worked for a year across north-eastern China within a practice development role, supporting the promotion and implementation of normal birth practices, women-centred care and midwifery-led services. What I really love about midwifery is how it’s built upon a foundation of mentorship and continual learning. I have mentored and supported midwives and students in a stand-alone birth centre in Bali, Indonesia. And most recently, I was deployed to Bangladesh in response to a diphtheria outbreak as part of the UK emergency medical team.

Why have you moved to LSTM?
I’ve been a volunteer facilitator with the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) at LSTM since 2014, implementing emergency obstetric care and antenatal postnatal care courses with the CMNH team in Malawi, Kenya, Cambodia and Ghana. I believe that the key to the success of CMNH’s implementation research is that it is sustainable and works in collaboration and partnership with in-country Ministries of Health and partners. I’m honoured to be part of a team that share a common vision and passion: to improve quality and accessibility of care, with the aim of strengthening health systems and improving the lives of women and their families. The team within CMNH are leaders in implementation research in maternal and newborn health and this research is responsive to the needs of the populations it serves. I’m really excited to be a part of this work.

What do you hope to do in LSTM?
During my time in LSTM, I’ll be working within various implementation research projects to improve the capacity of healthcare providers delivering antenatal and postnatal care and also improve the quality of antenatal and postnatal care across countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

I also have a special interest in addressing the immediate and long-term needs of girls and women in humanitarian settings and I’m undertaking further study in global health with the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester.