The Alliance for Maternal Health Equality reached an important milestone in 2017 at the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) Meeting in Malta on Maternal Health and Refugee Women.
Continuing the work we did at the Women Deliver meeting in 2016, and then again within the context of the European Health Gastein Forum, the Alliance presented its Matrix for maternal health assessment and its 5 dimensions: person-centric approach; timeliness and accessibility, equitability; resilience and efficiency; safety, quality and standards. The Matrix’s five dimensions and indicators were firmly endorsed by Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and also the President of Malta H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.
Importantly, this endorsement represents a firm acknowledgment of the need for a structured approach to tackling the problem of maternal health equality and helping move policy forward, and was a major opportunity to highlight our work with policy makers.
The third edition of Safe Motherhood Week (October 2-8) brought together new partners and supporters of the programme and marked the launch of the global #MakeMotherhoodCount initiative.
This year, we furthermore succeeded in:
There are regulations, declarations, rights, laws, strategies and a myriad of scientific evidence on this topic. But what is lacking is a systematic approach and translating discussions and policy drafts into action.
Over the past year, together with our partners and members of the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality, we have increasingly identified the need for an integrated EU-National policy approach in all our activities. With this in mind, during 2017 we worked to identify the gaps in policy across countries, by conducting a first maternal health landscape analysis from a policy perspective, to enable us to build a programme that responds to concrete needs of maternal health systems in Europe.
Our pro bono partner White & Case successfully delivered the first part of the analysis which focuses on the rights of women to receive maternal (pre-pregnancy, prenatal, and postnatal) healthcare within the European Union and the corresponding requirements imposed on EU Member States to provide maternal healthcare, resulting from EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). White & Case is a global law firm and a signatory to the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.
The Phase I analysis will be used to measure the extent to which Member States comply with their EU and ECHR law Matrix pillar obligations, and will provide a framework to analyse the extent to which the Matrix pillars are provided for under the law of these Member States.
Together, Phases I (EU & ECHR Legal Analysis) and II (Specific Country Legal Analysis) will provide the legal landscape in respect of maternal health in the Member States selected. The research conducted will provide data for the social science and policy analysis that will be performed in Phase III of the project (Best Practices for wider replication).
Alliance members EPF (European Parliamentary Forum on Population & Development), UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and IOM (International Organisation for Migration) were joined around the table by Doctors of the World, White & Case and Hill & Knowlton. Fatema Das, from Maastricht University and representing MSD for Mothers, presented highlights from her thesis, Barriers, Policy Implications, and Quantification of Access to Antenatal care for Vulnerable Women in Europe.
This was followed by a presentation of research findings for the first phase of a European Maternal Health Policy Landscape analysis (EU & ECHR Legal Analysis) by Irina Trichkovska and Pierre Pecheux of White & Case, who presented their study of existing legal entitlements and rights for women in Europe around maternal health, and several different possible policy approaches that the Alliance could pursue. Finally, Thomas Tindemans, Chairman of Hill+Knowlton shared some first reflections on how to turn advocacy into policy impact. As a conclusion to this meeting, Members agreed to find a common ground and crystallize this into a policy ask with 2-3 priorities that we seek. Once priorities have been redefined by the Alliance, White & Case will determine the appropriate next step for their study, and Hill+Knowlton will participate in defining how we can turn the policy ask into reality and where we can make the biggest impact.
In 2017 we brought all our motherhood activities under one strategic programme called Motherhood Collective Impact (MCI). MCI is a not-for-profit partnership that aims to address the most challenging issues in maternal health by taking a novel, co-impact and systems-based approach. The Motherhood Collective Impact programme aims to accelerate co-impact in maternal health by bringing all actors together within an interconnected ecosystem, facilitating collaboration, creating and matching solutions with resources to bring these solutions to life more quickly.
Senior Scientific Adviser
IOM Senior Regional Migration Health Manager For Europe And Central Asia
Executive Director At EPF
Advocacy Officer At IPPF
Consultant, Women's Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Chief Editor, Motherhood Projects