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Jenise Jarvis

Award Received: 
Midwives Award
putting on a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women's Pregnancy Support Network Study Day for her colleagues at Bart's NHS Trust
Year awarded: 

The need to address the health inequalities faced by Black, Asian and Minority ethnic (BAME) women as outlined in the MBRRACE- UK 2019 was recognised and a proposal was made to provide a drop-in support network for pregnant black women initially.

Sessions were held fortnightly in an endeavour to create a safe space to actively listen to women and feedback their experiences to positively change the way maternity care was provided.

Out of the total population of women booking for maternity care at the hospital, 15 % identified as black women and between the period of July 2019 to June 2020, 40% of black women experienced complications of pregnancy and 25% of the women who experienced a late miscarriage over 20 weeks, or a stillbirth were black women.

These statistics showed that black women were being failed as their health needs were not adequately being identified and their care consequently was not being adapted to reflect their needs. It was deemed that the current methods of health promotion for these women were not working, and therefore this proposed group session would be an innovative way to help the maternity services attempt to reduce these health inequalities.

Sessions began in September 2020 and focused on health issues more common in black communities, important symptoms for women to be conscious of during pregnancy and how to escalate concerns. Women’s handheld and electronic notes were reviewed, they were also encouraged to take their own blood pressures and the importance of attending their regular midwife appointments was emphasised.

Reflection sessions of women’s experiences were facilitated to listen to women and the feedback received helped to develop a more inclusive service with these women at the core.

In January 2021, the review of the sessions was completed, and the programme opened to the wider BAME community as one the points in feedback provided by women who attended was that they ‘felt singled out; as if they had done something wrong’.  Over time, the sessions were opened to women’s partners/ husbands/ birth supporters.

To further engage staff around the health inequalities faced by these women and upon consultation with senior clinicians with specialty backgrounds i.e. maternal medicine, diabetes, fetal medicine, a decision was made to host an awareness study day for staff.

Various sources of support were sort and as such the Iolanthe Award (2022) which I received enabled the first in house interactive study day for staff in collaboration with Fetal medicine obstetricians, Consultant midwives and Specialist midwives. Tinuke and Clo, founders of FIVEXMORE also provided training incorporating the patient experience for staff of the maternity unit ranging from obstetricians, midwives and students to administrative staff totaling 48 individuals.