Is it too much to ask for all mothers to feel safe or to have access to the best care before, during and after pregnancy? Apparently so. And yes, even in Europe. For the first time, Safe Motherhood Week 2015 (28.09 – 04.10) is striving to raise awareness of the gap that exists in relation to maternal rights.
Instrumental to the week is the launch of an international survey (https://safemotherhoodweek.org/survey/) to help collect evidence directly from women and their families about the challenges that they continue to face during all stages of motherhood.
5 million women give birth in Europe every year. In 2013, there were an estimated 1,900 maternal deaths in Europe. 1 in 10 women don’t have access to care in the first months of pregnancy. It goes without saying that this should not be the case. Safe Motherhood Week has been established to communicate the existing gap in maternal care by sharing evidence and experiences. The initiative examines work which is already being done in the field, gathers voices, and provides a platform for those organisations and associations who are making a difference.
Naveen Rao leads MSD for Mothers, a 10-year initiative aimed at reducing maternal mortality worldwide. MSD for Mothers is one of Safe Motherhood Week’s founding partners. According to him, “When a mother dies during childbirth the ripple effect on her family, her community and her nation is devastating. Safe Motherhood week is a great example of what can be achieved when governments, private sector and civil society come together with one focus – to find solutions that can help save our mothers.”
During Safe Motherhood Week, the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality (https://maternalhealthalliance.eu/) hosted a Breakfast Event in the European Parliament (29/09/20015) with MEP Mariya Gabriel (MEP,) Isabel de la Mata (Principal Adviser for Public Health at Directorate SANCO) and Priya Agrawal (Executive Director, MSD for Mothers.) Entitled “Deliver on Maternal Rights,” the event looked at issues surrounding health literacy, standards for maternal health and the need for a multi-sectoral approach to tackling the gap in maternal health care.
Nicholas Brooke is Head of the Safe Motherhood Week Secretariat and Executive Director for The Synergist. “Although this is a global problem, major inequalities still exist in Europe today. Unfortunately, the need for maternal care is often overlooked. We want to shine a light on this issue and assemble all the champion organisations and individuals who are making a difference to maternal rights. Working together, we can build momentum.”
Notes to the Editor
For further information, please contact: Sinead O’Laoire
MSD for Mothers
Safe Motherhood Week NGO Partners:
- Mummy’s Star
UK charity that exists to support women who are diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy or within 12 months of a new birth.
- Pregnancy Sickness Support
Awareness and support for Hyperemesis Gravidarum and Pregnancy Nausea and Vomiting.
- Pregnancy and Medicine Initiative
An initiative to raise awareness and help address the information vacuum concerning the use of medicines and medical treatment in pregnancy.
- Alliance for Maternal Health Equality
An issues-based coalition in formation aiming to ensure that policies are in place in Europe so all women have equal access to quality maternal health care regardless of ethnic background, nationality or socio-economic status.
- EPF – European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
EPF is a network of members of parliaments from across Europe who are committed to protecting the sexual and reproductive health of the world’s most vulnerable people, both at home and overseas.
- UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund
UNFPA is the lead United Nations agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted and every childbirth is safe. Working for the survival of mothers is a human rights imperative, and it is a development priority.
- The 2015 Pregnancy Summit
29/09/2015 – 01/10/2015
An open forum for discussion of all scientific and clinical aspects of pregnancy related issues and disorders. Safe Motherhood Week representatives will be attending this event in London.