Home / News and Blog / E-Bulletin / Five Questions With….Professor Nynke Renske Van Den Broek
Back to blog

Five Questions With….Professor Nynke Renske Van Den Broek

6 September 2019

We caught up with Professor Nynke Renske Van Den Broek LSTM's lead at the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health, to discuss our upcoming Conference and role partnerships can play in ensuring UHC.

What inspired you to work in global health?

More than 300 000 women die each year because of pregnancy related complications. In addition there are more than 5 million stillbirths and neonatal deaths every year accounting for more than 50% of all deaths in children under 5 years.  The vast majority  of these deaths occur in low and middle- income countries and most of these could have been prevented.  Behind these ‘numbers’ are real people, families, communities and many sad stories of ‘missed opportunities’.   For every woman and child who dies many more suffer ill-health.  Recent new estimates of the burden of physical, mental or social or ill-health related to pregnancy reveal that 3 out of 4 women have medical or obstetric health needs during pregnancy, 1 in 4 report psychological ill-health and 1 in 3 domestic violence.

Once you know about this – it is not possible to ignore and you are challenged into taking action to make a difference.

What has been the highlight of your career?

At the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine over the last 10 years I have been able to develop and successfully lead the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health. We are a multidisciplinary, multinational group of committed motivated enthusiastic clinicians, researchers and managers who want to make a difference.   Our focus is on implementation research – what works where and how in real life settings.

What role do you believe partnerships have to play in ensuring quality UHC?

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb.

CMNH works through effective links with governments and international partners across sub- Saharan Africa and Asia.  CMNH is a WHO Collaborating Centre and a member of the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH).

What do you see as the main challenges that partnerships face in achieving quality UHC and how can these be addressed?

UHC means that people are able to access and receive health services when they need these and that they do not suffer financial hardship doing so.  This means that health services should be available in a functioning health system provided by capable supported healthcare providers and managers working in an enabling environment.

Non-availability of care is in fact a big problem – in many areas of the world there is in fact no care available, there is no 24/7 care and/or the care is of poor content and quality. On my notice board is a saying by an eminent and respected colleague obstetrician-gynaecologist – Professor Mahmoud Fathalla many years ago – but still very valid today;

‘ The question is not  why do women not accept the service that we offer, but why do we not offer services that women will accept ‘

Service coverage for UHC is measured and monitored via an index using 16 indicators or measures – 5 of these are directly related to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.  This will hopefully help bring attention to the urgent need to become much better at identifying and addressing the health needs of women and children all over the world.

How do you think THET’s conference contributes to global health/the global health community?

THET’s conference is a joyful occasion to share lessons learnt, encourage each other, think out new research and implementation programmes and joining forces to advocate for change and take action.

This post was written by:

Professor Nynke Renske Van Den Broek - Lead for Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health, LSTM


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.