Gender and maternal healthcare
Authors: Sandall, J., Benoit, C., van Teijlingen, E., Wrede, S., Declercq, E. and De Vries, R.
This chapter addresses some key issues in maternal healthcare which have resonance in the international arena. In many middle and high-income countries, a key policy focus is on addressing disparities or inequities in healthcare recently highlighted by the revisiting of work on the social determinants of health by the WHO (CSDH, 2008). The report argues that social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The social determinants of health are seen as mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries, with ongoing debate about the effective contribution that health services can make to mitigate the impact the these social determinants on health and well-being.