CMNH celebrates International Women’s Day 2018

News article 8 Mar 2018

Professor Nynke van den Broek, Head of the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health:
“This year’s International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women worldwide and is a call to action to #PressforProgress to accelerate gender parity. At CMNH, our vision is to improve the health of mothers in low and middle income countries around the world. Over several decades, we’ve seen significant gains in the availability and quality of care for women during and after pregnancy. This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating these gains, the amazing work of women around the world who continue to make this possible, and the achievements of our own researchers. At CMNH, I am very lucky to work with a team of brilliant women, who work passionately and tirelessly to improve the availability and quality of care for women globally. I am inspired by their drive to press for progress, to continue to build on the gains that have been made in maternal health. Today, I would like to celebrate their achievements, and the achievements of all who strive to improve the opportunities and health of women around the world.”

Hannah McCauley, Senior Research Associate (Midwifery), CMNH
“Working in the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health which exists to improve women and their families’ health across the world is a privilege. Having worked in the NHS for more than 10 years and realising how much progress has been made in maternity care in the UK over that time, I am honoured to be in a position where as a team CMNH can impact policy and practice globally through rigorous research. Improving care for the women and their babies in low and middle-income countries has been a hidden agenda for many years with still too little investment in the area. The fact that CMNH is headed up by a woman who is a world leader in Women’s Global Health and also with so many experts in LSTM who are female gives me a unique opportunity to be in an environment that forges positive visibility of women.”

Read Hannah's blog: Pressing for Progress on International Women's Day

Dr Somla Gopalakrishnan, Clinical Research Associate, CMNH
“More than a century after the first International Women's Day, women have made tremendous progress towards an equitable society; though much needs doing in achieving accessible and available health care in the low resource settings. In my current job as Clinical Research Associate in the CMNH, I have been fortunate to contribute to the work in addressing some of the gaps in women’s health. From the repository of data collected from various implementation and operational research conducted by the Centre, we can feel immensely proud of the difference we have made in the health of women. When looking at data for mortality, we do ask ourselves: Why are women still dying of preventable causes?

Not only have we made healthcare available, but we have also emphasized the importance of quality of care in low and middle income countries. We have strived to improve and retain the confidence and competence of the different health cadres providing maternity and newborn care services. We have empowered the people who are responsible for the wellbeing of their communities. I have also experienced that the passion we all share in the Centre to make a difference in women’s health is not only driving us together but also keeping us on track to achieve the goals we have set.”

Helen Allott, Senior Technical Officer, CMNH
“Every now and then I ask myself why I am here, what prompted me to leave clinical obstetrics and turn to academia after so many years in practice? Then I remember that almost every maternal death is an avoidable tragedy, that each young life cut short is a travesty that moves me beyond anger to action, to play my small part in educating birth attendants so that the title of “skilled birth attendant” is justified and real. There is so much that still needs to be done to improve quality of care and give women everywhere what should be theirs by right: a safe and dignified birth experience with a good outcome for mother and baby. This International Women’s Day, for women everywhere, let’s continue to press for progress in maternal health.”