Safe Motherhood Week 2023: Prioritizing Women, including Mothers, in Health Research & Development

Welcome to Safe Motherhood Week 2023, where we aim to put the needs of women, especially mothers, at the forefront of research and development. Join us in our mission to ensure that every woman, including mothers, has equitable access to quality care adapted to her needs, irrespective of background, ethnicity, race, or religion.

The Importance of Women-Centered Care

Women-centered care is vital for an equitable and sustainable healthcare system. Despite constituting approximately 50% of the global population*, women’s health is often overlooked in political, scientific, and economic agendas. This neglect extends to research and development, where factors like insufficient data and gender disparities persist.

The newly published Women’s Health R&D Opportunity Map Report highlights this gap, outlining the lack of investment and prioritization in women’s health research. This has serious consequences, including ineffective interventions, delayed diagnoses, and increased mortality rates for women.

*United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2022). World Population Prospects 2022: Summary of Results. UN DESA/POP/2022/TR/NO. 3.

Neglecting women’s healthcare needs doesn’t just affect women but their families, too. The well-being of mothers means more resilient households, with improved nutrition, better development and education of children, and increased household earnings. Safe Motherhood Week 2023 aims to raise awareness and drive sustainable change by prioritizing women’s healthcare and building a more equitable society because healthy women and mothers mean better well-being for all.

#ResearchForHer #WomenInRnD #HerResearchPriorities #RnD4Women

Are you active in the maternal health or research space? Are you actively advocating for women’s inclusion in research and improved equity in the health space?

about the latest developments in this space and how to get involved

Are you a woman, family member, caregiver, or a member of the general public? Do you believe we can improve care for women, including mothers?

on this topic and how you can help make change happen

Get involved in Women-Centered Care and Research

The Women’s Health R&D Opportunity Map Report calls for an inclusive and equitable multi-stakeholder partnership covering the full scope of women’s health R&D under the auspices of a credible neutral convener. Safe Motherhood Week and the Motherhood Collective Impact Program are dedicated to accelerating the formation of such a partnership and call for all stakeholder groups and champions of patient engagement, medicines development, women’s health, and maternal health to come together under a joint effort to solve this issue.

Inspired by this cause? Get in touch with us to discuss possible ways of addressing this issue

The Patient Engagement Open Forum

Safe Motherhood Week 2023 is excited to participate in the Patient Engagement Open Forum (PEOF), a multi-stakeholder event for shaping the future of patient engagement to provoke lasting change. We invite you to explore the virtual PEOF session, “Prioritizing Women, including Mothers, in Health Research & Development”, on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, for an interactive discussion with a diverse panel to understand the most critical gaps and opportunities better and build momentum for a collaborative partnership to address these issues.

The Power of Data and Women’s Experiences

At Safe Motherhood Week, we aim to highlight women’s experiences as patients of all backgrounds. Evidence and data, including Patient Experience Data (evidence capturing the daily ups and downs of medical care and impacts on the everyday lives of patients), is also necessary to communicate the potential return on investment (ROI) in investing in women’s health R&D. Your real-world experiences and evidence about women-centered clinical research and development and care will help support understanding and build a sense of urgency on this topic, ultimately helping to drive sustainable change.

Patient engagement is the holistic engagement of patients as active stakeholders throughout the health journey and systems. To enable the best outcomes for women who are also patients, at Safe Motherhood Week, we believe that patient engagement should include a specific focus on engaging women of all backgrounds, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, along the entire medicine development and care pathway. 

Do you share our vision to support women of all backgrounds to engage in the design, generation, collection, and use of Patient Experience Data? Find out more about the Patient Engagement & Patient Experience Data initiative, and contribute to co-creating a roadmap to highlight the areas and impacts that are most important to women.

The ongoing challenge of universal access to high-quality maternal care, including safety information on medicine use in pregnancy and breastfeeding

Every minute, about 250 babies are born, creating 250 new mothers.

Pregnancy is an experience that affects almost everyone, but severe inequalities persist regarding access to care and medicines for future mothers, affecting vulnerable populations even more – such as migrants, mothers with precarious health conditions, and women in crisis.

Moreover, information on the use of medicines during pregnancy and breastfeeding is fragmented, open to interpretation, or sometimes non-existent.

Our vision is a world where all women have equitable and consistent access to quality maternal care and emergency care in a safe, respectful, and affordable manner before, during, and after the pregnancy experience. This care should be their basic right regardless of background, ethnicity, race, or religion.

Together with IMI ConcePTION, Safe Motherhood Week advocates for accessibility to maternal care and safe medication for all.  We aim to highlight the impact of various crises on maternal health services, identify where gaps have become urgent, and encourage all stakeholders to act today.

Are you someone (or know someone) experiencing or have experienced difficult motherhood in times of crisis? Share your motherhood story with us, and let us be your voice in these difficult times.

Hear from some of us

Everyone has the right to a positive maternal health experience and even though it is an experience that touches everyone, it should not be taken for granted. We want maternal health to continue to be seen as a priority by decision-makers.

Dr Frédéric Amant
Gynaecological Oncologist

It is difficult to measure but there is a direct impact – because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict war we are getting less funding, and this funding is used to support these weak and fragile health systems, to make sure that quality services are available.

Pete Wallroth
Mummy’s Star

In the US, the CDC has recently released its statistics on maternal mortality, and the most recent update includes Covid, and showed that our maternal mortality rate has increased significantly from 17 maternal deaths per 100,000 to 23.8 per 100,000.

Pete Wallroth
Mummy’s Star

My baby was born under shellfire. When I was in the hospital with him, there was a huge explosion nearby which blew out all the glass in the windows. I was terrified my baby would be hurt.

A Ukrainian Mother

Virtual sessions are no substitute for an actual appointment. They are awkward and rushed and provide substandard care. If I could, I would never have had one and never will again.

A Mother during COVID

I found it very unfortunate that reproductive care was the first to be scaled down during the pandemic, and the waiting lists increased as a result.

A Mother during COVID

There was a bombing, and our house was destroyed. I am due this month. I sleep on the streets. The situation is unbearable.

A Palestinian mother-to-be

In Gaza, 50,000 women are currently pregnant. Almost 160 women will give birth every day amid the violence. Most are unable to access health services.

UNFPA (October 2023)

With around 5,500 due to deliver within the next 30 days, more than 840 may experience pregnancy or birth-related complications.

UNFPA (October 2023)

Join the conversation, and share the campaign on all social media.

Breast cancer treatment during pregnancy is possible, and providing standard treatment is followed, the maternal prognosis is as good as in non-pregnant women.

Dr Frédéric Amant
Gynaecological Oncologist

Women’s concerns about their health should not simply be dismissed because they are pregnant or postpartum. This delay in diagnosis can be catastrophic.

Pete Wallroth
Mummy’s Star

Access to high-quality pregnancy and childbirth care, prevention of maternal mortality and efficient post-delivery contraception must be our priorities at the global level.

Petra de Sutter

Are you a maternal healthcare expert? Join Synapse to find everything related to maternal health and make your work available to the community.

– your global maternal health network

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