NGO: Two years after the Ukrainian war started, refugee women in Romania are still dependent on the support of civil organizations and have no other way to access vital medical services

February 23, 2024 (Press Release) – The Independent Midwives Association (AMI), an organisation that provides health services for women, pregnant women, mothers and newborns, medical services and health system navigation for vulnerable and refugee people, says that two years after the Ukrainian war started, Romania’s public health system is still not ready for the integration of refugees and vulnerable people still lack access to vital medical services and essential reproductive health services.

According to the association, pregnant women, single mothers, people with disabilities, the elderly, teenagers, abused women, oncology patients are still dependent on the support of civil organisations and have no other way to access the vital services they need. Specific reproductive health services are hardly available in Romanian hospitals and clinics: gynaecological consultations, contraception, pregnancy termination services, HPV screening, HPV vaccination, mammography and breast ultrasound, morphology and foetal screening, natural births, midwife support, breastfeeding and weaning support, antenatal education, education and counselling on newborn care.

„In the two years that have passed since the invasion of Ukraine, civil society in Romania has mobilised in an exemplary way and has made huge efforts to provide the refugees with the services they need: translators, information about the medical system, registration with the family doctor, psychological support, donations of basic necessities and even financial support. At AMI, we have a helpline dedicated to refugees, where we answer their questions about the medical system in Romania and help them register with family doctors and access services based on midwives and specialist doctors. There are many vulnerable people who still cannot manage without help. Pregnant women, single mothers, people with disabilities, the elderly, teenagers, women in abusive situations, cancer patients are still dependent on our support and have no other way to access the vital medical services they need”, said Irina Mateescu, licensed midwife and Vice President of the Independent Midwives Association.

„High costs, lack of specialists, lack of information and lack of midwives in the public pre and post-natal care and family planning system are problems that all women in Romania face every day. For refugee women, the language barrier also comes into play and all this has an even more serious impact. We know that the Romanian medical system is overwhelmed and we have cases of doctors whose frustration at not having good conditions and sufficient medical staff is reflected on the refugees, who are treated with hostility or even refused. The medical system in Romania is still not ready for the integration of refugees and does not offer any alternatives to these people. Some women choose to return to Ukraine to give birth, have an abortion or use contraception”, said Irina Mateescu.

From September 2023 to February 2024, the Independent Midwives Association provided healthcare, midwifery services, reproductive health services, contraception, vaccination, psychological counselling and support to over 4,000 people as part of the #RefugeeHealthJourney project, funded by CORE with American Red Cross funds, to facilitate the integration of refugees from Ukraine, especially women and vulnerable people, into the health system.

Over the past two years, the association has provided essential midwifery services for adolescents and young people, including reproductive health education, abuse and gender-based violence prevention education, pre- and post-natal education, pregnancy, lactation and newborn monitoring, breastfeeding counselling, family planning and paediatric and HPV vaccination education.

In total, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Independent Midwives Association has been providing support and services to refugees and vulnerable people in over 150,000 cases.

„All these services must be accessible to everyone in Romania, and the Romanian authorities must urgently integrate midwife-based services into the public health insurance system, so that midwives can prevent complications and contribute to lower infant, maternal and female cancer mortality rates, lower teenage pregnancy and abuse rates, and lower prematurity rates. Midwives can increase the education and health literacy of adolescents, women and the whole family and society. Midwives can care for mother and newborn together, without separating them unnecessarily after birth, in cases where both mother and newborn are healthy, increase the rate of natural births and breastfeeding, as well as the rate of paediatric and HPV vaccination”, Irina Mateescu added.

For further details:
Irina Mateescu, midwife, Vice President of the Independent Midwives Association
+40 722 658 054
Asociația Moașelor Independente
CUI 31853156
Înregistrată cu nr. 1578/A/2013
Sediu: str. Victoriei 16, camera 046, Maternitatea Buzău, jud. Buzău
Punct de lucru: str. Marcel Iancu 11
București, Sector 2
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