An ambitious new project aims to develop and implement an integrated model of maternal care and family planning services, for vulnerable women of childbearing age in rural Romania.
The goal of the “Safe Womenhood: an integrated model that aims to improve reproductive and maternal healthcare services in rural Romania” project is to pair with public driven healthcare services for women, by implementing an integrated model of family planning services and maternal care in the most exposed to poverty rural communities in Romania. The project will pilot a set of evidence-based, innovative interventions targeting 15,000 fertile women in vulnerable communities by addressing the lack of services adapted to women’ needs in rural areas.
Although on an overall downward trend during the last two decades, maternal mortality in Romania still stands at over 11 per cent of live births – this is more than double the EU-27 average, and three times higher than in Slovakia, Slovenia and Bulgaria, almost six times higher than in Italy and Spain and almost 10 times higher than in Austria and Poland. The high rate of maternal mortality is related to direct obstetrical risk (46 per cent), indirect obstetrical risk (29 per cent) and abortions (25 per cent).
Direct and indirect obstetrical maternal mortality rates remain higher in rural areas due to discrepancies in service delivery, inappropriate recognition and management of risk pregnancies, ineffective programs for training and inadequate clinical skills of community healthcare providers in managing risk pregnancies. In addition, the most vulnerable group is under aged women, with more than 10 per cent of all births being registered in women bellow the age of 19. The high level of maternal mortality rate and abortion rate, especially within the teen age group – indicates that family planning and maternal healthcare services are not being accessed by women from vulnerable groups.
The new project will pilot a set of multi-dimensional, innovative interventions addressing three synergetic groups: (1) fertile vulnerable women; (2) healthcare providers in rural areas and (3) local and central authorities.
The project aims to facilitate access to family planning services and to maternal care, to strengthen healthcare professionals’ technical capacity and to empower local authorities and central authorities in order to reduce maternal mortality in the most vulnerable rural communities, while reducing the unmet need for family planning services. Preventing unintended pregnancies and supporting access to quality maternal services for pregnant women will reduce avoidable maternal mortality cases, say the project organisers.
The project proposed interventions will increase competencies and knowledge base for the healthcare providers in 30 rural and vulnerable communities, by providing integrated pre and post natal care services. At the same time, the project will increase the delivery of integrated maternal health services and family planning through deployment of awareness and education sessions, interaction facilitation with medical staff and innovative usage of mobile phone technology. Strengthening local and central authorities’ capacity to deliver services adapted to vulnerable women needs is also a priority.
The project is being pioneered by World Vision Romania with help from MSD for Mothers. MSD for Mothers is a 10-year $500 million initiative focused on improving the health and well-being of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.
Find out more about vulnerable groups and download our #SafeMotherhoodWeek toolkit here.