School of Nursing & Health Sciences’ researcher will participate in panel investigating the consequences of gender on health and healthcare in India
Mary Renfrew, Professor of Mother and Infant Health at the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, will be in India this week to take part in Difficult Dialogues 2017, an annual forum that examines a range of issues of contemporary relevance in South Asia.
This year, the conference has partnered with University College London to explore the challenges India faces creating conditions for good health and access to healthcare for all its citizens.
Professor Renfrew is set to take part in a panel entitled ‘Better Births – where is the woman’s choice in childbirth?’, where speakers will explore reproductive and sexual rights, and discuss sensitive issues like gender-based violence, choosing one’s gender, the over-medicalisation of care, and ease of access to healthcare in India
The audience will consist of senior policy makers, politicians, doctors and other health professionals, journalists, researchers, charities and advocacy groups.
Professor Renfrew said:
“In India, pregnant women have access to healthcare at either end of a spectrum: they can seek advice from a community health worker, who are trained only to a basic level -- or if they can afford it -- to an obstetrician or gynaecologist. There is very little provision anywhere in between, and very few midwives – India has not been educating midwives for many years.”
“But there are now ongoing discussions led by the World Health Organisation and the government to reintroduce midwifery education in order to fill this gap, informed in part by the evidence we produced for The Lancet.”
“This year’s Difficult Dialogues is a great opportunity to engage with a range of different sectors related to this, and look to gain a head of steam toward making positive changes that can impact the lives of people in India and beyond.”
“So, for me, it’s important to make sure our panel reaches out into and beyond the maternity community and brings people into a discussion about inequalities in maternal and infant health, and how to combat them at all levels.”
Also on the panel will be Dr Aarathi Prasas, University College London; Bashi Hazard, a lawyer and director of advocacy group Human Rights in Childbirth; Dr Sheela Gupte, a senior consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist; Sohini Chattopadhyay, an award-winning independent reporter based in Calcutta; and Dr Sarika Mohan, Special Secretary for Health in Uttar Pradesh.
Difficult Dialogues 2017 will be held from 10-12 February at the International Centre, Goa. For more information, visit the conference website.
For more information on Professor Renfrew’s work on The Lancet Series on Midwifery, visit Midwifery Action on YouTube.