Embrace Equity For Women’s Healthcare
The theme for this years International Women’s day was Embrace Equity. Equity. Lack of equity in health and wellbeing care is something we are only too aware of at Bevan. As a social enterprise working at the heart of inclusion health and wellbeing in Leeds, Bradford and throughout Yorkshire, we are committed to breaking down barriers for marginalised people including refugees, asylum seekers, commercial sex workers and people in insecure accommodation or those who are sleeping rough.
Leading expert in women’s health and Bevan GP Dr Anne Connolly MBE says:
“This International Women’s Day we, at Bevan, are highlighting the importance of embracing health equity and empowering our patients to access health and wellbeing care. Whilst women experience iniquity because of the reproductive health burden and their life opportunities are compromised, but for the women we care for, there is an iniquity within that. For example our patients are exploited as sex workers or as newly arrived refugees and they are unable to access the care and information to help them overcome those barriers to good health.”
In addition to her day job as a GP Anne also chairs the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum and pioneered Rock My Menopause a campaign and website resource to stamp out the taboo around menopause and equip people with information to support women at this stage in their life. Anne was recently awarded an MBE for services to women’s health. Here at Bevan, Anne leads preconception care project, Starting Well empowering women and their families to improve the outcome of future generations by optimising their physical psychological and social wellbeing prior to conception.
“Marginalised women are so often excluded from access to proper preconception care. Unplanned pregnancies can lead to poor health outcomes for the woman, the child and future generations. Starting Well is for women who might experience barriers to accessing good advice around contraception or preparing their body and mind for pregnancy. The project empowers women to take control of their bodies, choose when or if to get pregnant and be in the best possible health to maximise health outcomes for all generations.”
A key way in which Starting Well has improved access to contraception advice is by providing a searchable database of contraceptives, translated into some of the languages most often spoken by newly arrived refugees. Starting Well also provides advice for families who do wish to become pregnant and the best way to prepare their mind and bodies. This can be found here. (The plan is to also translate this information into key languages so please check back.)
Bevan also run a drop in for women who are sleeping rough or insecurely housed to provide them a safe place to access support, make friends and feel connected to their community. Details of all Bevan Wellbeing Events can be found here.