Derry woman travelling to Brussels to learn about preventing maternal deaths

Dr Maria Herron, from Derry, is travelling to Brussels to show solidarity and learn from the work of the Elephant Collective, a group of educators, midwives, midwifery students, families, birth activists, artists and lawyers who have successfully campaigned for mandatory inquests into all cases of maternal deaths in Ireland.

The Elephant Collective held an exhibition in Brussels on Tuesday, January 24, to encourage other European countries to call for mandatory inquests. The Collective is also taking this opportunity to call on Coroners in Ireland to make full use of the law regarding full disclosure from the health services, to ensure that all lessons are learnt - ultimately to ensure that maternity services are improved so that there will be fewer maternal deaths in the future. The other key message being highlighted by the Collective is the disproportionate number of maternal deaths among women of colour that is happening in health services in Ireland and across Europe.

Dr. Maria Herron, who is an academic activist, said: “Ireland is leading the way in relation to coronial reform - it is the only country in Europe, which now undertakes an automatic inquest into every maternal death. This law came into effect as a result of the Coroners (Amendment) Act 2019. If a woman dies during or after giving birth in Northern Ireland, there is an investigative process involving a clinical review, but there is no mandatory inquest - this is left up to the discretion of the Coroner.

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"Countries in Europe, including the UK, could do more to prevent maternal deaths by undertaking mandatory inquests and learning from when things go wrong in our health systems."

The Elephant Collective.

Speakers at the Exhibition will include the husbands of two women who died in Ireland; Ayaz Hassan, husband of Nayyab Tariq, and Sean Rowlette, husband of Sally Rowlette, alongside Clare Daly MEP, Frances FitzGerald MEP, Robert Biedroń, MEP chair of FEMM in the European Parliament, and Dr Jo Murphy-Lawless who has spearheaded the Elephant Collective campaign. To find out more about the Elephant Collective, search for the Elephant Collective Dublin on Facebook or follow them at @El_Collective on Twitter.

The Elephant Collective.
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Dr Maria Herron, from Derry, is heading to Brussels to learn more about how other countries could do more to prevent maternal deaths.