IPPF EN is deeply worried by recent reports of denial of healthcare in Romania that speak to a shocking wider systemic problem.
Last week, the case of Alexandra, a 25-year-old mother of three, who was denied emergency obstetric care in a hospital for seven hours, has ignited protests in Romania and heavy media coverage. The cause of death was an obstetric emergency which led to sepsis, acute cardio-respiratory insufficiency and acute pulmonary edema. Alexandra endured terrible pain for hours and asked for help from those whose duty was to save her, but her pleas went unanswered. The case is being investigated by the police.
Alexandra's case is one of many pointing to a crumbling healthcare system that is harming all Romanian citizens. The country’s healthcare system is rated 34 out of 35 by the Euro Health Consumer Index. Things are especially dire for groups of people who are already made vulnerable by the system, such as women, Roma people and those living in poverty. Institutionalised stigma and discrimination run deep, with patients reporting being denied care or not being given quality care due to the colour of their skin or their ability to pay. The system is broken for everyone, but it is groups already facing challenging circumstances who bear the brunt.
“From 2018 until 2021, there was an 183% increase in the maternal mortality rate. It’s unconceivable for an EU Member State to have such a high maternal and infant mortality rate. And it’s devastating that so many women have lost their lives, leaving their families behind. And while women’s health paints a grim picture, the problem is more widespread touching on all areas of health. Romania is among the countries that spends the least on healthcare as a share of GDP.” said Gabriel Brumariu from SECS, IPPF’s Romanian Member Association.