Finnish maternity services and benefits, including the famous baby box, were presented to Irish social and healthcare professionals in the Finnish Ambassador's residence on November 16th 2016.
Research Manager at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, adjunct professor Tuovi Hakulinen talked about the Finnish welfare system for families. The versatility and continuance of these services all the way from pregnancy until the age the child goes to school surprised the audience.
Journalist from the Irish Times, Sheila Wayman, continued the talk from the Irish perspective, making comparisons between the two systems. Wayman had got to know the Finnish maternity and child welfare as well as early childhood education system in September and had written articles about it in Irish Times. Her speech reflected a deep appreciation towards the Finnish maternity and child welfare system.
The event was moderated by Head of Programme (Society) Johanna Sumuvuori from the Finnish Institute in London, who brought into the conversation her own experiences and thoughts.
After the presentations the conversation was lively and the audience asked several questions for the panellists. It is clear that there is great interest in Ireland towards the Finnish system. The audience was wondering, for example, how differently the systems have developed in Ireland and Finland respectively, despite the countries being almost same age.
The famous Baby Box was laid out on a table for everyone to see and received a lot of admiration.
Elina Honkanen, intern