Accelerating FemTech: How can FemTech help reduce inequalities in maternity care?June 9, 2023
The final webinar in the Accelerating FemTech: Inspire series was hosted by West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and was on the topic of inequalities in maternal and neonatal care.
Anna King, Commercial Director at the Health Innovation Network, began the webinar by introducing the Accelerating FemTech initiative and the Accelerate programme which is currently open for applications.
Alex Leach, Director for Innovation and Growth (acting), provided a short introduction to West of England AHSN and the work the organisation has being doing across Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, leading the way on multiple maternity and neonatal care programmes.
The first presentation was delivered by Ann Remmers, Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Lead for West of England AHSN, on the topic of health inequalities and the impact they have on outcomes and experiences in maternity care. Ann provided insight into what is meant by inequalities in health and what these mean in maternity care, sighting shocking statistics such as the MBRACE-UK Report finding that black women were 3.7 times more likely to die than white women during maternity care. Ann concluded by emphasising the power of collaboration when looking at innovation in this space.
Sonah Paton, Founder and Director of Black Mothers Matter, spoke next about the lived experiences of black mothers, the evidence available and the context which led to the founding of Black Mothers Matter, encouraging innovators to remember the real people behind the statistics. She provided an overview of the support which the organisation provides including an online resource library and shop, antenatal support boxes and taught sessions in a community group including with pelvic health specialists and baby yoga instructors. Sonah also discussed the Black Maternity Matters initiative, co-produced with multiple partners including West of England AHSN, and currently being piloted in Bristol Trusts, involving training and QI projects.
Finally, the Founder & CEO at Anya, Dr Chen Mao Davies, gave an inspiring presentation on the multi-award winning FemTech start-up which is leveraging AI, 3D technology and access to world-class specialists to support parents with breastfeeding. This was born out of Chen’s personal experiences of breastfeeding and aims to help the 90% of mothers who are reported to give up breastfeeding before they wanted to. She shared the company’s co-production approach and patient involvement strategy, and the resultant improvements that they were able to make to the Anya product as a result.
Applications are also open to Accelerating FemTech: Accelerate, a 10-week support programme is for small / medium-sized companies (SMEs) from across the UK, that have early-stage innovations addressing current challenges in women’s health.