Myleene Klass on what she found ‘shocking’ visiting pregnant women in Colombia

TV presenter Myleene Klass has said it is “shocking and totally unacceptable” that some women cannot give birth safely following a visit to the Colombian border.

The winner of I’m a Celebrity… South Africa, 46, met pregnant women and midwives during her visit to an emergency health unit in the La Guajira region, set up by charity Save The Children.

She said: “As a mother I just cannot comprehend how pregnant women, so many pregnant women every week, are having to put themselves in danger, travelling for days, just to get the maternal and newborn healthcare they vitally need.

Myleene Klass
Myleene Klass joins mothers in a breastfeeding clinic run by the charity at La Pista informal settlement, La Guajira (Angela Ponce/Save The Children/PA)

“I’ve been blown away by the care and compassion of the healthcare staff at the Save the Children’s emergency health unit in Colombia, who are working tirelessly to ensure the mothers are supported and their children are born safely into the world.

“The mums I’ve met are all striving to provide the best for their children, despite the circumstances they have come from.

“I think the thing that binds us – the commonality that we all have as mums – is we just want the absolute best for our children.

“No woman should have to give birth alone and risk losing their baby or their life – it’s shocking and totally unacceptable.”

She added: “There is both a strength and fragility when it comes to giving birth.

“But what should be a sacred, nurturing time for most women is often an isolated, terrifying one.

Myleene Klass joins members of the Wayuu indigenous community (Angela Ponce/Save The Children/PA)

“To see a hammock next to a ‘western’ bed with stirrups in this hospital was inspiring – knowing that the women from different communities who come here are thoroughly nurtured and cared for.

“The support of midwives and health workers here is so important and the passion they have for their patients shines through.

“When you’re a mum irrespective of language barriers and jobs and situation you deserve to speak the same language – that’s the one of motherhood.”

During her stay Klass spoke to a team of midwives who run outreach programmes to local communities, including Colombia’s largest informal settlement, to provide antenatal check-ups and maternal education.

The former Hear’Say singer said she visited a young pregnant woman who had to travel for two days, surviving only on water, so that she could access the healthcare she needed for her baby.

Myleene Klass
Save the Children Ambassador Myleene Klass meets Maria, a midwife from the Wayuu indigenous community in La Guajira, Colombia (Angela Ponce/Save The Children/PA)

Klass said: “Making this journey is hard enough but thinking that mothers do this whilst pregnant is utterly heartbreaking.

“Living here, not having your family around you – she lives in a very vulnerable environment and is being so strong.”

Klass, who is an advocate for women’s health, has been an ambassador for Save the Children for over 10 years.

She also spent four years campaigning for Government change regarding miscarriage care, having suffered four herself.

Last year, following her efforts, the Department of Health and Social Care announced a package of new measures to “boost the health and wellbeing of women and girls”, including a pilot scheme that will see medical intervention for women after every miscarriage.

Klass is fronting the new health campaign Expecting Better, which aims to create lasting change for children around the world and for women everywhere to be able to expect better maternal healthcare for themselves and their baby.