Equal access to vital maternal healthcare for vulnerable refugee women across Europe remains a challenge. Research & policy recommendations published during Safe Motherhood Week – based on direct experience of 14,000 refugee women
Securing equal access to primary health care and maternal health for pregnant migrant and refugee women remains a great challenge across Europe and if pursued can be cost beneficial to national health care systems in the future. That’s according to new research of almost 14,000 refugee women who received care from Doctors of the World (Médecins du Monde) following their arrival in Greece.
The research reveals the significant challenges refugee and migrant women across Europe face in accessing maternal healthcare, and the implications this is having on the health and mortality rates of mothers and their babies. Doctors of the World Greece, an international humanitarian movement surveyed over 14,000 women who received care through the Mother & Child Programme which was funded by a grant from MSD for Mothers, a global initiative which aims to address issues related to maternal health.
Dr. Nikitas Kanakis, president of Doctors of the World Greece, said
“Every mother deserves good care before, during and post pregnancy, their residential status should not affect this basic right, and our research and the experience from our programs shows providing equal access will improve and save lives, whilst also reducing pressures on hard-pressed healthcare systems around Europe.”
“Doctors of the World facilities (clinics and mobile units) are working hard to address this issue. We are passionate about the provision of good maternity care to vulnerable women and the value it has in safeguarding the long-term health of mother and child and maintaining strong families and communities. We believe all EU member states and EU institutions should put this issue higher on their political agendas. With rising rates of migration, it makes economic sense to act soon.”
“We hope our Refugee Health Policy Recommendations will spur EU institutions and member states to join together to tackle the barriers vulnerable mothers and other migrant women face in trying to get good care.”
Mary-Ann Etiebet, Director, MSD for Mothers, said:
“Access to quality maternal healthcare can save lives, yet across Europe, the most vulnerable pregnant women are still facing challenges in accessing this basic care. We must work together to address this issue before it escalates further. Access to maternal healthcare for every mother has to be a priority. We would like to engage with European Governments and EU Institutions to listen to what women in the research have told us are their challenges and to implement the policy recommendations announced by Doctors of the World today which call for a removal of the barriers and challenges to this vital care.”