Inequalities in maternal and newborn health discussed by the European Parliament


On 13 November, just a few days before World Prematurity Day, when all the world will focus on the global problem of premature birth, a meeting “Newborn health – a challenge for Europe”  was hosted by Ms Mariya Gabriel, MEP from Bulgaria, and  the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants on the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels. 

Evidence confirms that 8.1% of Disability Adjusted Life Years  (DALYs) are caused by diseases and health disorders of the newborns– that is more than cancer (The Lancet, Vol 380 December 15/22/29, 2012).

WHO/Europe was invited to discuss the inequalities in maternal and newborn health in Europe. Dr Gunta Lazdane, Manager of Sexual and Reproductive Health programme, presented the improvement in maternal and newborn health in the Region during the last decade. She emphasized, however, that the progress is uneven and unequal among countries and within countries. Links with the European strategic framework “Health 2020” and call for joint actions with active role of the parliament and other sectors than health were made.

Every tenth child in the European Union is born premature and much more could be done to prevent and properly manage the impact of prematurity through the life course of a child, family and society.

Members of the European Parliament were called by the speakers to discuss this problem in their countries, to analyse the reasons and to support governments in actions.