Delivering on Maternal Health: not just words but actions
We, at the Alliance for Maternal Health Equality, are often overwhelmed by the support and inspiration that our stakeholders are providing us with. Our MEP Champions are even more helpful and accommodating, the living proof that big institutions don’t need to be impenetrable, cold fortresses.
In this blog, we chose to focus on MEP Filiz Hyusmenova (ALDE, Bulgaria). From the very first conversation we had with MEP Hyusmenova’s cabinet, we were met with open arms and one very clear message: ‘equity in maternal health is important.’
MEP Hyusmenova’s involvement in this topic is the proof that maternal health spills over into many other policies. In her work as a member of the LIBE Committee (covering justice and home affairs in the EU), she is often discussing topics such as cross-border mobility and social equality, inevitably touching on the issue of motherhood.
However, maternal health, while being mentioned together with other topics, is rarely discussed on its own, despite its importance for creating truly resilient healthcare systems in Europe:
‘Healthy mothers are the foundation for a better society! However, they are rarely discussed separately but mostly as a side topic, as part of a bigger agenda. This means watering down the issues concerning maternal health. In the EU, mothers are often the first to face problems when it comes to equitable access to health – imagine living abroad and having to visit a doctor who does not speak your language, or having to deal with a foreign healthcare system without knowing your patient rights and responsibilities. It is not just that, equity also relates to other problems mothers face, like maternity leave, or the possibility to develop your own entrepreneurial business shortly after giving birth. All these (and many more) problems show us that the time has come to make mothers and equitable access to healthcare a priority topic.’
MEP Filiz Hyusmenova (ALDE, BG) is one of the Alliance’s main champions in the EP and a firm believer in equity in access to maternal healthcare
Of course, making this a priority means taking action: with this in mind, MEP Hyusmenova is spearheading the Alliance’s EP Declaration on maternal health in Europe. The text will represent our stakeholders’ viewpoints on the issue, with the hope that this may lead to a Resolution on the topic in 2016. The finalized version is expected to be ready for tabling in the EP as of January 2016.
‘I would like to encourage all MEPs to take this Declaration into consideration. Its main subject is equity in access to maternal healthcare but it also encompasses the importance of collecting real-life evidence at Member State level, in order to have a clear statistical basis for all future policies on the topic. Additionally, it underlines the need to keep women aware and proactive when it comes to maternal healthcare.’
The Alliance for Maternal Health Equality will continue working with its MEP Champions in the upcoming 2016. Stay tuned to track our progress on the Declaration and to find out more about our future activities!