Ensure universal access to maternal healthcare in the European Union
This paper focuses on maternal andperinatal healthcare – the period from pregnancy to the first year after birth.
A mother’s own physical and mental health and wellbeing can affect a child’s physical and cognitive development. Adversity during pregnancy and the first years of life can predict adversity across generations. The Child Guarantee’s commitment to increased access to healthcare for children in need must also include universal access to quality healthcare during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period, as prerequisites for maternal and child health and wellbeing.
EU Member States must:
- Include universal access to maternal, newborn and child healthcare and parent friendly care provisions in their Child Guarantee Action Plans.
- Strive to achieve and provide Universal Health Coverage to all, as defined by the WHO, guaranteeing pre- and post-natal care for all women and children.
- Education and Care services for children under the age of three.
- Provide accurate and clear maternal health information, with a special focus onthe needs of migrant, Roma and other women in vulnerable situations.
- Guarantee privacy of information about the migration status of pregnant womenand ensure that immigration status is not a barrier to accessing healthcare services.
- Prioritise investment in easily accessible medical facilities, maternal supportprogrammes, and training of health professionals based on best practice.
- Invest in maternal mental health services, including prevention, screening and support programme.
This paper was developed under the First Years, First Priority Campaign.
First Years, First Priority is a joint initiative of Eurochild and the International Step by Step Association (ISSA). We are the leading European networks representing the children’s rights and the early childhood sectors. Our partnership pools our respective strengths to campaign for the prioritisation of early childhood development in public policies across Europe. The European Public Health Alliance and Roma Education Fund are associate partners.