SOGC Annual Clinical Meeting, Ottawa, June 21 to 26, 2007 - Access to Maternity Care in Decline in Rural Canada: New SOGC President



    OTTAWA, June 21 /CNW Telbec/ - New President of the Society of
Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre is
calling for more action to improve access to maternity care in Canada's rural
and remote communities. The issue will be a key priority for Dr. Lefebvre, who
will be inaugurated as the 64th President of SOGC, on Monday, June 25, 2007.
    "We are running out of people who can deliver babies, and it is women in
rural communities who are affected the most," said Dr. Lefebvre, who will
become the Society's 64th President Monday at the group's Annual Clinical
Meeting in Ottawa.
    "Shortages are affecting women everywhere, but there is a widening gap
between the health care women are receiving in rural or small urban
communities versus what is available in larger urban centres," said
Dr. Lefebvre. "Every woman has the right to a safe childbirth. We all have a
responsibility - governments, healthcare facilities and practitioners - to
address this issue that is affecting the safety of childbirth in Canada."
    A declining number of healthcare professionals available to provide
maternity care is affecting women in both urban and rural areas across the
country. However, in rural areas and small urban communities, these shortages
are presenting some unique challenges. With fewer healthcare professionals
available to offer maternity care services, pregnant women are routinely
relocated from rural communities into regional hospitals. This means women in
these areas must travel long distances to give birth, separating them from
their families and community at a critical time.
    Other women's health care priorities are also receiving short shrift.
Access to regular cervical cancer screening is also an issue for women in
rural areas, where women are less likely to access regular screening and are
thus at increased risk of cervical cancers.
    Addressing the human resources shortages in women's health care is a key
strategic direction of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of
Canada. The Society has proposed A National Birthing Strategy for Canada to
address this shortage. The National Birthing Strategy will generate new ways
of addressing the underlying causes of the shortages, and by developing
efficient, collaborative ways of allocating existing obstetrical resources.
    Dr. Lefebvre, who is Chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology
at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and an Associate Professor at the
University of Toronto, will be officially inaugurated as the 64th President of
the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada at an awards
ceremony Monday night in Ottawa.

    Resources:

    - A National Birthing Strategy for Canada:
    http://www.sogc.org/projects/birthing-strategy_e.asp

    About Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre

    Dr. Guylaine Lefebvre is the 64th President of the Society of
Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. She is presently Chief of the
department of obstetrics and gynaecology at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto,
and is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. She has been
significantly involved with the SOGC since 1993 and has been a member of SOGC
Council since 1997. Dr. Lefebvre is SOGC President for the 2007-2008 term,
beginning in June 2007.
    Dr. Lefebvre graduated from medical school in Ottawa in 1985, and
completed her residency in obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of
Ottawa. She then completed a fellowship in advanced gynaecologic surgery at
the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

    About the SOGC

    The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) is one
of Canada's oldest national specialty organizations. Established in 1944, the
Society's mission is to promote excellence in the practice of obstetrics and
gynaecology and to advance the health of women through leadership, advocacy,
collaboration, outreach and education. The SOGC represents
obstetricians/gynaecologists, family physicians, nurses, midwives and allied
health professionals working in the field of sexual reproductive health. For
more information, visit www.sogc.org.




For further information:

For further information: or to schedule interviews on this or other
topics related to women's health, members of the media are invited to contact:
Lisa Robertson, (613) 739-7032; Susan Wright, (613) 730-2020

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Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

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