Médecins du Monde Greece publishes research & policy recommendations based on the direct experience of 14,000 refugee women who received care through their Mother & Child Programme

The research findings were presented at “Unspoken Voices: Meeting the health needs of women refugees across Europe”, an international conference held in Athens on 3rd October organised by Doctors of the World to highlight the issue as part of Safe Motherhood Week 2017 (2-9 October)

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.

The research also explores the economic analysis around providing equal access to regular maternal healthcare for refugees, as opposed to emergency-only care.  Despite widely held views that EU member states can’t afford to provide equal access to care for refugees this research shows that access to quality care is likely to generate long-term cost savings for health authorities and alleviate pressures on healthcare systems across Europe in the future.

The research findings prompted Doctors of the World to develop the ‘Refugee Health Policy Recommendations’ to aid European Governments and EU Institutions in planning to meet the health needs for these migrants who are being relocated to countries across Europe. The policy paper entitled, “Refugee Health Policy Recommendations for European Governments and EU Institutions” calls on all EU Member states and institutions to study the research supporting the recommendations and unite in supporting it.

You can access the full press release here, and an interview of MdM Greece’s president, dr.Nikitas Kanakis, to The Guardian here