Government announces measures to improve birth and maternity care in Spanish hospitals.
Although Spain has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, giving birth in some Spanish hospitals can involve certain medical procedures which make it a cold and clinical experience. Over-frequent caesareans, women forced into uncomfortable postures with legs tied to stirrups or unnecessary episiotomies can make giving birth in Spain an unpleasant experience with little or no intimacy. This is why the Inter-Regional Council (the organization that coordinates health services belonging to different autonomous regions and the Health Ministry) has introduced a ‘Strategy for a Normal Birth’ in which each region in Spain is committed to allowing the woman giving birth to have a say in her care, as long as her safety or the safety of the baby is not put at risk. This strategy will also be applied to care for pregnant women. However, on announcing the measures yesterday, the Spanish Health Minister, Bernat Soria stressed that this didn’t mean home births.
Cervical Cancer Vaccine
The Inter-Regional Council also approved the introduction of the new vaccine against cancer of the cervix. Despite receiving protests from several regional health authorities, the vaccine against the human papiloma virus (which causes cancer of the cervix) will be financed by each autonomous region at a cost of around 300 euros per vaccine. In Spain about 2000 cases of cancer of the cervix are diagnosed per year and there are 600 deaths from this disease. A commission is to be set up to establish at what age the vaccine should be given.
Free dental care for children
A plan for dental health to be partly financed by the government is to be introduced at a cost of 12 million euros in 2008.
The plan consists of giving free dental health care (check ups, dental hygiene procedures, fillings and extractions) to all children between the ages of 7 and 15.
Finally, Health Minister also announced a digitalization of health records in Spain so that all patients would have access to their health records wherever they were and in this way they could receive better medical treatment.