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The EGALITE study

Project summary

With forced migration at an all-time high, research with pregnant women and mothers who have recently fled to the Netherlands is a necessary step in promoting perinatal health equity within our society.

Compared to native populations in high-income countries, women with a refugee background are affected by higher rates of pregnancy complications and unfavorable birth outcomes. Even in the Netherlands, newborns’ chances of a safe and healthy future differ at birth. The EGALITE research project aims to identify factors that impact these perinatal health differences across populations with different refugee backgrounds in the Dutch context. Care professionals, the social domain and women with lived experience themselves will be actively involved to guide the realization of a tailored ‘toolkit’ aimed at birth care for women with a refugee background.

With the objective of “joining hands in research on perinatal care for refugees in the Netherlands”, the EGALITE project will comprise three phases of action-directed research.

In phase 1 (2021-2022), we will evaluate the current structure, processes and outcomes of birth care for asylum seekers and refugees. People who provide and receive this type of care will be invited to share their (care) experiences. Besides qualitative studies, we will conduct a large-scale retrospective analysis through matching national registry data on asylum status and perinatal outcomes. Moreover, new data on the level of care, policy and social factors which may impact perinatal health inequities among the study groups will be collected. The organization and intersectoral collaboration will be mapped, and the implementation of a national guideline on birth care for asylum seekers will be assessed.

In phase 2 (2022), findings from the evaluation phase will be translated into a ‘toolkit’, which may include intervention(s), training for care providers or an updated guideline, aimed at strengthening birth care for women who stay at or recently moved from asylum seeking centers. Principles of ‘action research’ will guide the development of this toolkit, to ensure close engagement with target groups.

In phase 3 (2023), the toolkit will be pilot-tested on a local level, leading to recommendations for further dissemination.


Contact: J. Tankink (PhD candidate): /


The EGALITE project aims to contribute to reducing perinatal health inequities between pregnant women with a refugee background and native women in the Netherlands.

Output & collaborations

More detailed information

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Hanneke de Graaf

Role Erasmus MC:



Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Project website:

Funding Agency: