Finnish Maternity Package – a social innovation supporting the well-being of families
As part of the festive programme of Finland celebrating its 100 years of independence, a presentation of the Finnish Maternity Package was held at the Embassy of Finland in Riga on 4 December 2017. This social innovation of the Finnish society, its history and reasons behind its long-lasting popularity were discussed by Latvian decision makers, associations, media and other people dealing with the health and well-being of families.
This year, it has been 80 years since the Finnish Maternity Grant scheme was designed. During and after the war, the Maternity Package was an essential support to families living with very little and in meager conditions. The living conditions have since improved, but the Maternity Package continues to be a valued and popular piece of Finnish social security.
"One of the key elements in building a successful society has been to take care of peoples' well-being – even in difficult conditions", said Ambassador of Finland Mr Olli Kantanen, speaking about the importance of the Maternity Package to the development of the Finnish society. Latvian Minister of Health, Ms Anda Čakša highlighted the Finnish innovation as model, which gives an equal start to everyone.
The Maternity Package contains around different 50 items, such as clothes and care products for the baby and accessories for the mother. Everything is gathered into a cardboard box which is designed to be a bed, including mattress, blanket and sheets. Many Finnish families use the box as the baby's first bed.
To celebrate Finland's 100 years of independence, Ambassador of Finland announced at the event that the Embassy of Finland in Riga will donate a number of Maternity Packages to babies born in Latvia. Six of them will go to the first babies born on the Finnish Independence Day, the 6th of December. The rest will be shared with three lucky babies born in December through a lottery. Parents, whose babies are born in Latvia in December, can participate in the lottery through the Embassy's Facebook page. More information about the campaign is available here http://www.finland.lv/public/default.aspx?contentid=369647&nodeid=38432&culture=en-US.
Since the original Maternity Package is part of the social security system of Finland, it cannot be purchased or given as a present. Therefore, the packages that will be donated are provided by the Finnish company Nordic Birth Basket. The project is done in cooperation with the Finnish company Neste.
To learn more about the Finnish Maternity Package, please visit the website of the Finnish Social Insurance Institution Kela.