UK researchers are at the forefront of a new research project aimed at improving services for pregnant migrant and refugee women across Europe.
The Operation Refugee and Migrant Maternal Approach (ORAMMA) project, funded by the European Commission, will explore what needs to be done to ensure these vulnerable women access the healthcare they need before, during and after giving birth.
“Health professionals may not always act in a co-ordinated and culturally appropriate way”
The project, jointly led by Sheffield Hallam University and Athens’ Midwifery School, brings together experts from universities and health organisations from five European countries.
They will undertake research in order to help develop new guidelines for integrated antenatal and postnatal services for migrant and refugee women.
Hora Soltani, professor of maternal and infant health at Sheffield Hallam’s health and social care research centre, is one of the project leads.
“These women have a complex health and social history and face specific health risks and challenges during the perinatal period that need to be dealt with by well-trained, multi-disciplinary teams of health professionals,” she said.
However, she noted that most struggled to get the care they needed during pregnancy and after birth, and said it was vital to “eliminate the practical barriers that prevent these women from accessing the system”.
“European countries face many difficulties in assuring the best possible access to healthcare services for refugee mothers and their newborns, and health professionals may not always act in a co-ordinated and culturally appropriate way and that is what this project will address and improve,” she said.
The research team includes experts from the European Forum for Primary Care, European Midwives Association, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Swedish organisation The Birth House, which works to improve obstetric care, and CMT Prooptiki, an Athens-based management consultancy specialising in health and social care.
They hope to pilot the study’s recommendations in late 2018.