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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018

Published 8th March 2018

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day. This year the theme is ‘Press for Progress’, which ties in with Doctors of the World’s dream that no-one should suffer or die because of a lack of medical care.

Yet the reality is that too many women in the world still die in childbirth, face sexual exploitation and often have lack of access to contraception and safe abortion.

A volunteer providing antenatal care

Stories like Lilian’s bring this home. Lilian fled Vietnam to escape political persecution after she and other family members received threats. She was brought to the UK by people smugglers who took her passport. She has been living and working in a nail salon for the last four years.

Lilian came to the clinic when she was 10 weeks pregnant. She had been too scared to access healthcare before, but was experiencing abdominal pain and was worried about her baby. Our volunteers immediately sent her to A&E where she had an emergency scan and received treatment.

We continued to work with Lilian to help her to register with a GP and access antenatal care. Thankfully, the story has a happy ending and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Equality matters. Everyone at Doctors of the World will continue to fight against healthcare injustices, to help vulnerable women like Lilian.

As well as highlighting inequality, today is also a good chance to celebrate our wonderful volunteers and say ‘thank you’ for their contribution.

From 70 year-old Johanna on her 70th Doctors of the World mission in Cambodia, to our student volunteers helping answer calls on her helpline, Doctors of the World is reliant on good people willing to give their time to help others.

Until Mother’s Day on Sunday, we’ll be sharing stories about female medical pioneers, Doctors of the World staff and volunteers and issues around women’s health on Facebook and Twitter.