UCLan Professor Soo Downe meets with President of Malta


UCLan’s Professor in Midwifery Studies, Soo Downe recently met with the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, to discuss the next steps for two European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST) project that she has led for the last 8 years.

The COST Action IS1405 “Building Intrapartum Research Through Health – an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualising physiological labour and birth (BIRTH)” has successfully embarked on bringing together numerous stakeholders – scholars in the field, practitioners, scientists, professionals, activists, political stakeholders and service users from across Europe and widely beyond.

The work has been focused on five key areas,

  1. Biomedicine (epigenetics and the hygiene hypothesis)
  2. Biomechanics (maternal and fetal movement)
  3. Socio-cultural perspectives (social expectations and experiences, including marginalised and migrant populations)
  4. Organizational perspectives (the effect of organizational contexts and cultures on variation in rates of childbirth interventions)
  5. Neuro-psycho-social perspectives (how inter-personal actions and behaviours affect physiological processes).

President Preca commented on Facebook, “I would like to thank the team behind COST Action IS1405 – “From Birth to Health,” for the work they have done, over the past eight years, to generate essential and much-needed research.

“I would like to encourage them to take this research, and use it to raise the political profile around this issue, as they are in a perfect position to provide the politicians and policy-makers of our nations with the relevant resources, to improve the wellbeing of expectant mothers.

“All of our countries have a clear responsibility, to safeguard and to protect every mother.

“For this reason, let me recommend that this research is a first step, to create an EU-wide Observatory on holistic and equitable Maternal Healthcare”.

Professor Downe said: ‘We are very honoured at the interest taken by President Preca in our programme of work. We look forward to working with her in the near future to ensure the findings from our work are translated into practical action, and optimal outcomes for mothers, babies and families across Europe, and beyond’


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