2021 – Annual Report
The centrality of women in every community means that the impact of preventable conditions are far-reaching, affecting the entire community, let alone the woman herself. Access to respectful, appropriate, safe, woman centered care during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum are the expectations of our communities, yet often not realised.
The discussion that surrounds achieving respectful maternity care focuses on the overwhelming dilemma of inequity, ending violence against women, the lack of respect for basic human rights and poor health outcomes for women and their infants.
We started the year with a name change. This process is officially complete. With the name chance we reviewed our governance policies and induction processes – thank you to Joan for leading that exercise. We also reviewed our strategic plan. Thank you to Mary for leading that process. Our webpage was completely revamped. Thank you to Clare Wolski. To stay connected we have a new FaceBook page, Twitter Account and started a YouTube Channel, and an Instagram Account..
We hosted a Birth Time viewing in Canberra. It was well attended and the discussion that followed was informative and enlightening. Alicia Payne, an ACT representative in the federal parliament spoke of her concerns and possible actions to achieve safe and respectful maternity care. Thank you Alicia for your support.
We conducted our second dignity survey and reported it as The Mother’s Tale – Women’s’ Experience of Maternity care in Australia. Overall, only 54.4% of women we surveyed had the birth they wanted, compared to 62% of the women in the 2016 survey. Of interest is the growing awareness of the need for respectful maternity care and women’s’ awareness that they have choices. In this survey, nineteen women reported changing models of care during pregnancy, and we also saw a rise in the reporting of free birthing.
The survey gave consumers of maternity care an opportunity to provide free text feedback. 537 women offered suggestions and four themes emerged:
- Provide respectful maternity care;
- Provide continuity of care, preferably with a known midwife;
- Improve postnatal care; and
- Provide information on care options.
In response to the findings, Maternal Health Matters developed the Maternal Health Toolbox. The toolbox explores:
- What are the elements of maternity care?
- Who provides maternity care in Australia? Your health professional options.
- Choosing your health professional.
- Where to give birth to your baby — your choices.
- The Pregnancy Care Checklist — Australia.
We are particularly proud of The Pregnancy Care Checklist — Australia. For the first time, Women in Australia have a tool, based on best available evidence to assist them to receive respectful maternity care.
In conjunction with Canberra Mothercraft Society, we launched – Right Birth – Your Choice, a video with the aim of raising awareness in the community on what is appropriate and respectful maternity care. We have also completed the script for a Right –Birth your choice self-directed learning package that will be delivered in 2022.Thank you to Mary, Vanessa and Emma for your work on this project.
We have advocated rigorously this year to raise political awareness for social and economic change. It is an ongoing struggle due to the perception that Australia is a safe place to give birth, because women do not die. Yet, mainstream maternity systems based on traditional medical models continue to fail to meet the needs and values of women and their community. Improving outcomes in maternity care requires a primary health model of care, that is a wellness model, through redistribution of funds to evidenced based care, monitoring of outcomes through client reported outcomes of care, system monitoring and accountability through accreditation systems, education and credentialling of maternity professionals on Respectful Maternity Care, service redesign so the services are arranged around the woman, and staff conditions that foster partnership and respect rather than hierarchy is the key to achieving respectful maternity care. Thank you to Mary and Joan for their commitment to advocacy.
In preparation for the National Federation Reform Council Taskforce on Women’s Safety, we wrote to all relevant Politian’s, like organisations and public servants to remind them that the Women’s Safety Summit must include maternity care and address concerns in any future plan. Joan was particularly active through Equality Rights Alliance.
Finally, we are in the throes of planning a seminar series next year. Watch this space.
Balance Sheet – For the Period I July 2020 to 30 June 2021
|Non Current Assets||0.00|
|Non Current Liabilities||0.00|
|Net Surplus (deficit) for the period||1453.45|
Income and Expenditure – 1July 2020 to 30 June 2021
|1/07/2021||Balance Carried Forward||4224.20|
|9 /9/2020||GoDaddy – WordPress Website Management||117.48|
|10 /10/2020||Envato – Website Design Package||99.22|
|22/11/ 2020||GoDaddy – Web Hosting||193.49|
|13/5/2021||AON – Directors and Office Bearers Insurance||833.44|
|3/6/2021||Refund – Cheque No 000060||29.00|
|30/6/2021||Operating surplus for the year||2770.75|
In the opinion of the Board the financial report:
- Presents a true and fair view of the financial position of Maternal Health Matters Inc. at 30 June 2021 and its performance for the year ended on that date in accordance with the Associations Incorporation Act 1991
- At the date of this statement there are reasonable grounds to believe that Maternal Health Matters Incorporated will be able to pay its debts as and when they fall due.