Project overview


MATCO is a global study of MATernal health provision during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this project, we wish to understand the effect of the pandemic on health care available to pregnant, labouring and postpartum women and their newborns, and to mitigate against the negative consequences by extracting and sharing developed solutions.

Our objective

The Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Research Group of ITM has been at the forefront of COVID-19 research. We lead a large consortium of partner organisations on research, aiming to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of essential maternal and newborn care in the world. The study has been ongoing since mid-March 2020.


This study was funded by the COVID-19 Pump Priming fund of ITM, supported by the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Belgium.

Dr Benova is partially funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) as part of her senior postdoctoral fellowship.

Research team


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The project is comprised of three substudies:


A global online survey of maternal and newborn health professionals, aiming to understand how health professionals and health facilities prepare and respond to COVID-19 in regard to the care provided to women and their babies during antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care. This is a repeat cross-sectional study with an embedded longitudinal cohort. Round 1 was collected between March and June 2020, Round 2 between July and December 2020, and Round 3 between December 2020 and April 2021.



A mixed-methods, longitudinal in-depth case study of preparedness and response to COVID-19 in seven large maternity/newborn hospital wards in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Guinea, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania). This study also serves as a platform for exchange of information and experiences across the contexts studied. We started this study in May 2020, relying on semi-structured interviews, visual data documentation, and routine health records analysis.



A qualitative study of postnatal care (PNC) in the French-speaking part of Belgium: implementation and adaptations in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are documenting the adaptations and the responses of the different health structures to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in regard to organization of PNC. We want to understand the changes in the care processes, before and after discharge from a health facility, applicable to every postpartum woman, and also specifically for parturient women suspected or confirmed positive for a COVID-19. By interviewing midwives, we aim to understand how the measures taken affected their day-to-day work, what challenges arose and how it affected both mothers’ health and their own.

Research outputs

  • Tools:

    • Round 1 survey questionnaire (EN)

    • Round 2 survey questionnaire (EN)

    • Round 3 survey questionnaire (EN)