International Medical Corps is committing to provide the education, supplies, resources and other health and health-related investments to help 125,000 women have healthier pregnancies over the next two years. This initial two year investment in healthy pregnancies will be the launching pad for reaching the organizations overall goal of one million healthier pregnancies over the next five years, starting with South Sudan and expanding to other countries such as Afghanistan, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Jordan and Lebanon.
Heidi Murkoff, advocate and bestselling author of What to Expect When Expecting, and the What to Expect Foundation, will partner with International Medical Corps to build the capacity of Ministries of Health, frontline health workers, adolescent girls and boys, fathers, mothers, and caregivers to ensure healthier pregnancies at the family, community, and national level and create sustainable change.
This partnership will leverage and expand proven programs from International Medical Corps and Heidi Murkoffs decades of experience; test, pilot and expand new training programs and methodologies; and broadly share results that can change the landscape of maternal health programming. Programs and services will include:
Building a cadre of trained midwives: Working with Ministries of Health to improve existing midwifery curriculums with new modules, including: emergency obstetric care; use of the WHOs Minimum Initial Services Packages for maternal and reproductive health in emergencies; gender-based violence and the clinical management of rape; nutrition; mental health and psychosocial support; and more.
Equipping facilities and midwives: Ensuring health facilities and midwives have the necessary medical equipment and supplies to support healthy pregnancies and healthy deliveries.
Outreach/Education: Reaching women, mothers, fathers, caregivers and adolescent girls and boys in local communities with maternal health materials to prepare them for healthy pregnancies.
Leveraging the tremendous support of Heidi and Erik Murkoff and the What to Expect Foundation, this commitment will also include broad-based communication campaigns targeting the public and global influencers to raise awareness about the need for increased investment in maternal health.
Integrate new and approved curriculum to train health workers and trainers in three midwifery schools in South Sudan on the use of the WHOs Minimum Initial Services Packages for maternal and reproductive health in emergencies (Q1); gender-based violence and the clinical management of rape (Q2); and mental health and psychosocial support (Q2). Provide supportive supervision to trainers to ensure new modules are integrated in skills curriculum (Q2 and Q3).
Assess and identify key gaps in community-based education and implement expansion of successful models, including Adolescent Health programs for girls and boys; Care Groups; PD/Hearth and others (Q2 and Q3).
Identify additional gaps capacity in other countries with high maternal mortality rates. Start by exploring expansion of maternal health and midwifery programs to Afghanistan, Chad, Cameroon, Jordan, and other countries. Assessment includes identifying gaps in training, equipment, and maternal health awareness. (Q3-Q4)
Leveraging this years successful BumpDay Campaign, International Medical Corps will develop a global communications campaign for healthy pregnancies. BumpDay 2015 mobilized thousands of mothers to raise awareness about healthy pregnancies by posting pictures of their baby bumps. Trending on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, there were 27,600 photos, 10,000 tweets shared, to over 40 million users. (Q4)
Identify potential partners and areas of interest (Q1-Q2 and ongoing).
Continue expansion of additional midwifery curriculums, including adding nutrition and follow on mental health and psychosocial support training to existing schools in Afghanistan and South Sudan and expanding all new modules to additional countries that may include CAR, Cameroon, and/or others identified in Year 1. (Q1 and ongoing)
Identify innovation and pilot opportunities to test (Q2)
Launch global communications campaign sharing success stories from South Sudan and Afghanistan, highlighting new countries of expansion with maternal health (Q3-Q4)
Equipping medical facilities and midwives in new countries. (Q3-Q4)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 800 women globally die from pregnancy or childbirth related complications every day; equivalent to a woman dying every two minutes, every day of the year. In 2013 alone, there were approximately 289,000 women who died from pregnancy or childbirth. The vast majority of these deaths are preventable. In addition, for every maternal death, 20 other women suffer injury, disease or infection during or after their pregnancy. Additionally, nearly 3 million babies die in their first 28 days of life; WHO notes that most maternal and neonatal deaths occur around the time of labor, delivery and the immediate postpartum period.
In all, this tragedy touches nearly 6 million women directly each year, 99% of them in the developing world. Women who lack access to skilled birth attendants (midwives, nurses or doctors) and emergency obstetric and neonatal care cannot receive lifesaving services when complications occur. Yet, UNFPA and International Confederation of Midwives assert that trained midwives can prevent up to 90% of maternal deaths where they are authorized to practice their competencies and play a full role during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth. (WHO, 2014).
There are proven solutions that can ensure healthier pregnancies and deliveries. International Medical Corps, the What to Expect Foundation and its partners are committed to working to address this crisis.
International Medical Corps is seeking private investors, including individuals, foundations and corporations, to provide the cash and in-kind resources to pilot innovations, provide medical equipment, support training for midwives, and develop other outreach materials. Using a shared value approach, International Medical Corps will work with each donor to create opportunities that meet the goals of the commitment and the investors business objectives.
International Medical Corps is also seeking implementing partners with specific, proven programs and skills related to maternal and reproductive that can be scaled to match the organizations large and growing footprint.
International Medical Corps can work with each investor to create appropriate PR and media opportunities internationally and within the region as well as provide best practice information for maternal health and healthy pregnancies. In addition, International Medical Corps will share best practices information with Ministries of Health, local partners and other collaborators to share proven models of intervention.