BRIDGE: Empowering Women with Chronic Diseases Before, During and After Pregnancy
The decision to start or grow a family may be one of the most important moments in a woman’s life. Women around the world face many joyful, hopeful and difficult choices during these periods of their lives. However, for women living with chronic diseases, there may be additional challenges related to the management of their disease and their medication — including whether to continue or stop treatment during their reproductive health journey. These women encounter difficult decisions and uncertainties about their medications without access to reliable information on the benefits and risks involved in balancing their chronic condition with their pregnancy or the health of their baby.
Astonishingly, approximately 70% of pregnant women take at least one prescription drug, even though only 5% of medications are properly monitored, tested, and labelled for use during pregnancy. These significant gaps in data and research mean that healthcare professionals (HCPs) may not have the vital information needed to support clinical decisions for the management of chronic diseases during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These gaps may also severely restrict the ability of women with chronic diseases to have an informed dialogue with their HCP and to make shared choices about their health.
Today I am excited to announce the launch of a global commission named BRIDGE (Better Research, Information and Data Generation for Empowerment). BRIDGE is a voluntary, multidisciplinary group of physicians, researchers, patients, and women’s health advocates working to empower women with chronic diseases with evidence-based, accessible information to make shared decisions about their treatment during their reproductive health journey. BRIDGE aims to advance practical and action-oriented solutions to overcome information gaps that affect women’s health — the first of which will be detailed in a report due out in early 2024. As a co-chair of BRIDGE, along with Ngawai Moss, honorary research fellow at Queen Mary University of London, and Melissa Tassinari, former clinical advisor at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, my ambition for BRIDGE is to help make sure that women with chronic diseases are equipped with high quality, timely data they can trust when making critical decisions about their treatment during these important moments in their lives.
Co-chair Ngawai Moss shares her perspective on why initiatives such as BRIDGE are needed.
Through our work, we want a world where women’s care — and their experiences of care — reflects what matters most to them. BRIDGE aims to catalyze a paradigm shift in the management of chronic disease during their reproductive health journey and as women decide to start or grow their family.
Find out more about BRIDGE and its members and sign up to receive updates and announcements by visiting the website: https://www.bridgeforwocba.org/
UCB has a longstanding commitment to empower and support women of childbearing age with severe chronic diseases to make informed decisions about their healthcare. As part of this commitment, UCB supports the mission of BRIDGE and has supported the development of this website.