Is there a role for midwifery education to improve the knowledge and attitudes of Greek midwives on gender equality and reproductive health rights of members of the LGBTQ community?
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Midwifery Department, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Angeliki Antonakou   

Midwifery Department, International Hellenic University, Thessaloniki, Greece
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A21
LGBTQ populations face significant social stigmatization, discrimination, and marginalization and are susceptible to healthcare disparities. LGBTQ health issues and sexual and reproductive healthcare are inextricably linked because they both involve individuals’ autonomy in their most intimate decisions. Unfortunately, LGBTQ people experience major disparities in sexual and reproductive healthcare and worse health outcomes than the population overall1.

Material and Methods:
A literature search was performed with use of PubMed, Scopus and Google Scholar in order to identify published data over the last ten years related to the role of midwifery education in taking steps to provide tailored, appropriate and lifesaving reproductive health care for LGBTQ people.

Several studies show that many healthcare professionals lack the significant knowledge, skills, and cultural competencies needed to provide high quality LGBTQ care2 Evidence suggests that healthcare professionals continue to receive little or no training to prepare them to manage this vulnerable population. There is scarce data on pre-registration midwifery programs. Studies involving medical students show that although most medical students already show favorable attitudes towards LGBTQ people, their knowledge on LGBTQ health needs is in average level and educational interventions help enhance it to a significant extent3. The results of two unpublished studies on members of the Greek LGBTQ community also verify similar findings in Greece. The Midwifery Department of the International Hellenic University, which is the second largest of the three public midwifery departments in Greece, only recently in 2019 added an undergraduate education module concerning vulnerable population health issues. Even in countries where midwifery education is more robust on equality-diversity awareness issues, studies show that academics need more support and tools to prepare and deliver LGBTQ health content to student midwives4.

Though Greece is one of 17 countries in the OECD that have the most legal protections for sexual and gender minorities5, nevertheless there is still a long way in achieving gender equality in this country. As evidence shows midwives ultimately have the potential to improve the experiences of LGBTQ people when accessing healthcare, therefore the midwifery pre-registration programs need to adapt, develop and implement curriculums addressing LGBTQ health. The curriculum needs to target specific learning aims and outcomes, such as training midwives on how to provide to Greek same-sex couples the same access to reproductive counselling and assisted reproductive technology.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
There is no funding for this research.
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