Offentliggjort den 5. maj 2022.
Mother’s Day is, for many reasons, an important day to celebrate. It is also an important day to shed light on related areas that need our attention.
It is a great pleasure for me to be her today to talk about women’s health and the need to ensure that the gains achieved are not lost due to new and existing challenges.
Women’s health is an extremely important matter and not only for women. We know that if we invest in women’s health, it will have positive spill-over effects; improving conditions for families and for entire communities. Investing in women’s health is not only the right thing to do. It is also the smart thing to do.
Globally, UN member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and jointly set targets to improve women’s health, including the reduction of maternal mortality and universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services.
Sadly however, for the first time in decades, we are likely to see increases in maternal mortality rates in low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, we expect spikes in unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
The Covid-19 pandemic is largely to blame. All over the world, the pandemic has disrupted healthcare systems and cut off access to basic services for pregnant women and women giving birth. In addition, humanitarian crises around the world, including in Ukraine and Ethiopia are sadly adding to these negative trends, despite efforts to counter them.
We know that most maternal deaths are preventable if women receive quality care from a midwife or skilled healthcare worker. However, in some places there are too few healthcare workers practicing midwifery with sufficient skills and knowledge to handle basic childbirth complications and emergencies.
In addition, we currently lack about 1 million midwives to ensure quality care for all women and newborns globally.
What can be done to close this gap, and how can we advance maternal health services?
There are no easy answers or quick fixes, but if we get it right, 4.3 million maternal and newborn lives can be saved annually by 2035.
Technology offers new solutions to advance women’s health – and when done right, technology holds the potential to catalyse change and assist in advancing women’s health.
Maternity Foundation uses digital solutions – for instance the Safe Delivery App – to build midwifery knowledge and skills among healthcare workers. By doing so, Maternity Foundation supports them in ensuring a safer childbirth for women and their newborns in low-resource settings.
This is only one solution out of many. We need to explore more ways to support women and we need to invest more in research on women’s health; including reproductive health, to better meet the needs of the women.
Today, a wide range of actors from parliament, tech and pharmaceutical industries, major foundations and global organisations are coming together with NGOs, scientists and researchers to contribute with their perspectives on women’s health. This broad engagement is deeply encouraging to see and demonstrates clearly that women’s health concerns everyone.
I wish you all a happy Mother’s Day and that your discussions today lead to new ways to support women’s health.
(Det talte ord gælder)