As an activist for maternal health rights in Romania and the Head of the White Cross Foundation for Maternity Healthcare Services, increasing health literacy and access to healthcare for as many Romanian mothers as possible is extremely instrumental to me. It is important that they understand the role and significance of prenatal tests. Though we [my organisation] had already been directing women to Lab Tests Online as part of an effort to help them better understand the role and importance of these tests, we relied on the languages that were available – English, French or German (as most educated women in Romanian are fluent in at least one of these languages), Hungarian (as Romania has quite a large Hungarian-speaking minority), Italian and Spanish (spoken by many low-income Romanian women who engaged in seasonal work in Spain and Italy). Unfortunately, the great service Lab Tests Online sites provide was not available in Romanian, or at least so was the case until the launch of the country’s own site in November 2012 through the noteworthy efforts of the Romanian Association of Medical Products Providers.
The availability of a Romania-specific website is a big step in a country with the highest maternal and neonatal mortality rate in the European Union – the result of ever-decreasing access to affordable prenatal medical services, which are essential for the evaluation of the risk level of a pregnancy. In 2011, official statistics showed that the mothers of almost 20% of live newborns in Romania had not had a single prenatal medical check-up. This dismissal of prenatal care demonstrates that women often fail to understand the potentially tragic outcomes for them and/or their babies that are often caused by complications that are preventable with proper prenatal care and testing. This is where the value of the clear, uncomplicated language of Lab Tests Online comes in – it is effective in conveying the importance of prenatal and postnatal tests for the health of mother and baby.
For women who are interested in giving birth naturally and want to avoid over-medicalization of the pregnancy and birth, the Lab Tests Online family of sites gives them the resources to check the usefulness of pregnancy tests to help them have a natural experience.
Meanwhile, educated women, who tend to become insatiable for information about pregnancy and birth, can rely on Lab Tests Online for information to ensure the best care for their babies. The safe, comprehensible, and user-friendly source on prenatal and postnatal tests for mother and baby beats the array of internet sources with questionable reliability that can have a dangerous impact when used as a dictator of health choices.
Lab Tests Online entered the equation at a truly critical time – eHealth is growing in popularity and patient empowerment has placed more emphasis on ensuring that the individual is aware of their healthcare options. It empowers women to make informed choices about their care which is the goal of any patients’ rights organization such as ours. Now that Lab Tests Online has been translated to the Romanian language and market, its positive impact on Romanian mothers, irrespective of their foreign language skills, will be hugely beneficial.
President of White Cross Foundation