No medical support for pregnant women in the Romanian countryside

In scattered and isolated villages, Romanian women often have to give birth at home without any professional assistance, sometimes while the rest of the family sleeps.

Delia Budurca
Delia Budurca NewsMavens, Romania
No medical support for pregnant women in the Romanian countryside - NewsMavens
Romanian Village View, Wikimedia commons

Why this story matters:

Imagine you are a woman living in a rural community. You live far from the nearest hospital and seeing a doctor is a luxury. One day you become pregnant so you go to the gynecologist for the first time. During the consultation you are humiliated and shamed, but you have no money for another doctor. You would consider an abortion, but maybe it is too late already. You have no means of getting to the hospital, so the child is born at home, in a cart or on the porch, just like in your great-grandmother's time.

This is a reality faced by women in rural Romania today.

Romania also ranks first in the European Union in the proportion of pregnancies and abortions among minor mothers. According to Eurostat, 2,000 girls under the age of 16 give birth in Romania each year. Some are as young as 12. 

One out of five mothers gives birth without any specialized medical control during pregnancy. As a result, 11 mothers die out of every every 100,000 births and seven children out of 1,000 die before one year.

Although the number of pregnancies is high, Romania does not have a national reproductive health strategy, and the consequences of this lack of public policy is clearly visible.

Details from the story:

  • The article recommended below was written with the support of World Vision Romania, an organization that, in 2015, in partnership with MSD Romania, started the program "Moms for life, life for mothers" as part of the international initiative MSD for Mothers.
  • The NGO World Vision Romania started the program "Moms for life, life for mothers" as part of the international initiative MSD for Mothers. The project targeted 30 rural communities from three counties: Dolj, Vaslui and Valcea. They offer informational sessions for girls and women in these communities.
  • In Dolj County, the maternal mortality rate is four times higher than the national rate, while in Vâlcea and Vaslui the maternal mortality rate is twice as high as the national average rate. During the project, several community educators have held information sessions for 15,000 women.
  • At the root of this teen pregnancy rate is poverty. 42% of Romania's population lives on the poverty line and is at risk of social exclusion.
  • At the same time, Romania faces one of the most serious social problems of the last decade: the exodus of doctors. One in four doctors left the country after it joined the EU in 2007. Romania has today 2.4 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants, which is far below the EU average.
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