Since 2016, UNFPA has accelerated working with corporate partners to help thousands of women and girls around the world.
Since 2016, UNFPA has accelerated working with corporate partners to help thousands of women and girls around the world.
Partners use their communications and distribution channels to raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health
Partners can make a financial contribution to UNFPA core resources or to a specific programme
Partners can donate products or services that help advance UNFPA's programmes.
Companies can donate a percentage of the revenue from sales of a specific product to a UNFPA programme
Partners can contribute unique pro-bono skills and expertise for example in the areas of supply chain management and information and communications technology
UNFPA works with companies to design tailored workplace programmes to promote the wellbeing of female employees. By encouraging women to exercise rights and choices at home and work, companies can benefit from a more effective and efficient workforce.
Bayer’s long-term commitment to family planning is reinforced in accordance with the Programme of Action of the Nairobi summit (ICPD25). The company has been supporting family-planning programs with a broad range of hormonal contraception methods for many years, including oral contraceptives, monthly and thrice-monthly injections and implants1. Low- and low-middle-income countries have seen increasing demand for contraception, particularly long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs), including implants2.
By providing immediate solutions to solve urgent problems as well as long-term structural proficiency, Bayer strengthens UNFPA’s humanitarian response.
Bayer’s expertise and innovation within supply chains and medical logistics help support UNFPA’s country offices in overcoming bottlenecks related to COVID-19 and improving logistics measures to maintain the quality of pharmaceutical supplies.
The partnership also focuses on supplies provided in the Interagency Emergency Reproductive Health (IARH) kits as well as on improving the clinical practices of service providers.
The company’s medical logistics and know-how will help UNFPA to strengthen its supply chain management and the use of pharmaceuticals during humanitarian crises in a sustainable manner.
Bayer has recently committed $1 million $500,000 and products worth $3.8 million to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership, which seeks to secure the essential contraceptive supplies and maternal health medicines required by millions of women and adolescent girls over the next decade. Bayer’s contribution will help prevent almost 215,000 unintended pregnancies, 5,000 maternal and child deaths, and over 58,000 unsafe abortions in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
1By 2030, we are committed to providing 100 million women in low- and middle-income countries with access to modern contraception. Bayer AG. 13 October 2021. Available at: https://www.bayer.com/en/pharma/empowering-women-globally Last accessed: November 2021.
2Harrison, M.S., Goldenberg, R.L. Immediate postpartum use of long-acting reversible contraceptives in low- and middle-income countries. matern health, neonatol and perinatol 3, 24 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40748-017-0063-z
Every year, 70,000 women die from excessive bleeding after childbirth (post-partum haemorrhage or PPH), with the majority of deaths occurring in low- and lower-middle income countries. The majority of PPH deaths could be avoided through preventative approaches, however, this is not always the reality for those living in humanitarian crisis settings, for example conflict regions, natural disasters, public health emergencies.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Ferring Pharmaceuticals share a collective goal in working towards achieving zero preventable maternal deaths. Making motherhood safer is a human rights imperative. This is only possible by ensuring that every woman has access to quality care and treatment during pregnancy and childbirth, no matter where she lives. It is in this context that UNFPA is collaborating with Ferring Pharmaceuticals to contribute to the body of evidence regarding the safe introduction of additional resources such as heat stable carbetocin for the prevention of excessive bleeding after birth (post-partum hemorrhage) in low resource humanitarian contexts such as Uganda and South Sudan. Through this, both organisations aim to contribute to providing access to safe birth in the most vulnerable settings. This collaboration is also part of Ferring’s commitment at the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) held in November 2019.
World Health Organization has found the use of good quality prophylactic uterotonics can prevent the majority of PPH associated complications during the third stage of labour. Heat-stable carbetocin does not require refrigeration to be stored or transported, which can be life-saving in regions with high temperatures or where there may be unpredictable power sources.
In addition to the drugs oxytocin and misoprostol, heat-stable carbetocin is recommended for the prevention of PPH for all births in contexts where its cost is comparable to other effective uterotonics. The World Health Organization (WHO) updated the PPH prevention recommendations to include carbetocin in 2018 and added the heat-stable formulation of carbetocin to the Essential Medicines List of uterotonics in 2019.
Ten years after independence, South Sudan still endures staggering levels of violence across several regions of the country. According to a UNHCR, nearly 1.6 million persons are internally displaced and some 345,000 returnees, who have spontaneously returned to South Sudan, are affected by the violence and search for safe harbors. The maternal mortality ratio for South Sudan in 2017 was 1,150 deaths out of every 100,000 live births. The project areas include six health facilities that cater for the most part to the internally displaced population. Together these facilities report close to 600 births per month.
Regional conflicts have driven people from more than eight countries to seek refuge and asylum in Uganda’s North and Northwest Regions. A UNHCR report documented that Uganda was host to over 1.4 million refugees and asylum seekers in January 2021. According to a Knoema statistic, the maternal mortality ratio in Uganda in 2017 was 375 deaths out of every 100,000 live births. For Uganda, six locations are proposed in and around the main refugee camps in the areas of Bidibidi and Mvepi, covering both the refugee and national population. Together, these health facilities report 235 births per month.
The partnership with Global Citizen is a reach partnership to amplify UNFPA’s work on sexual and reproductive health and gender equality and to unlock new resources in support of the global agenda for women and girls.
UNFPA is part of the Recovery Plan for the World, a campaign coordinated by Global Citizen to end COVID-19 and kick-start a global recovery. Women and girls were particularly affected by the pandemic, and equality must be at the core of the global reset. UNFPA and Global Citizen work hand in hand to approach private-sector entities to increase their support of the agency’s work. Global Citizen also shares assets produced by UNFPA through their wide-reaching platform of supporters and high-profile ambassadors.
Since 2013, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been a strong supporter of UNFPA on various midwifery-led initiatives both at national and global levels.
Building a thriving and resilient health workforce was the objective of J&J’s commitment at the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) held in November 2019. At the Nairobi Summit, J&J pledged its support to achieving the “Three Zeros.” Further information on J&J’s commitment at the Nairobi Summit can be found here. J&J was also one of the founding members of the Safe Birth, Even Here campaign by UNFPA that aimed to encourage private sector partners to come together to end preventable maternal deaths.
With funding from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, UNFPA has implemented several programmes around the world aimed at empowering women and girls and safeguarding their health.
In a world where every 2 minutes a woman dies giving birth, beginning in 2017, UNFPA and J&J collaborated on the five-year project: “Safe Birth, Even Here:
Reducing Maternal Mortality in Fragile Contexts” to reduce maternal and newborn deaths through training midwives and skilled birth attendants, as well as strengthening maternal and newborn health services for 234,000 women, girls and newborns across Liberia, Haiti and Pakistan.
In addition to this work, there remains a continued need for evidence-based advocacy to address the gaps in quality midwifery care. In 2020, UNFPA received support from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation for the midwifery advocacy project entitled: “Midwives: The Unsung Heroes of Maternal and Newborn Health” centred on the launch of the key findings of a new research paper on Impact of Midwives published by UNFPA, ICM and WHO in the Lancet Global Health in December 2020.
The education of midwives is also central in the fight against maternal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Despite the strong evidence to support investment in midwifery, midwifery education and training in low- and middle-income countries remains grossly under-invested in, with wide variations in content, quality and duration.
UNFPA has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation to strengthen the quality of midwifery training and education globally. One key output of this project will be to develop a competency based curriculum resource that countries can use to support the development or updating of their midwifery curriculum, new e-modules and face to face training modules. These efforts will help improve the quality of midwifery education and training and support the delivery of high-quality midwifery services within health facilities and community settings.
Currently UNFPA is working with the Center to highlight the value of obstetric nurses and midwives and help strengthen their role in the health system in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.
To raise funds for UNFPA’s work on midwifery, the Individual Giving Programme also launched a match-funding campaign in partnership with the Johnson & Johnson Foundation. The 2021 campaign aims to mobilize funds to help midwives with the training and supplies they need. The matching opportunity will encourage supporters to donate while doubling their impact.
The partnership between UNFPA and the Olympic Refuge Foundation aims to reduce the vulnerability to gender-based violence among adolescent girls, young women and boys living in refugee camps in Kenya through sports.
The project will strengthen the social inclusion, cohesion and psychosocial well-being of young people through sport-related platforms. It will broaden the participation of adolescent girls, young women and boys in sports activities through engagement with community leaders and parents and the training of coaches.
Sport is a powerful way to challenge and address negative gender norms and stereotypes and improve self-esteem, well-being and leadership skills. The initiative, therefore, aims to reduce the vulnerability of adolescent girls and young women and boys to gender-based violence through the strengthening of self-agency and the promotion of gender-based violence services, including psychosocial support, during sporting activities.
The global partnership between UNFPA and Philips is a brainpower partnership that aims to improve the health and well-being of 50 million women and girls in countries where health challenges are greatest.
UNFPA and Philips have developed an innovative model with the Government of the Republic of the Congo to reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates by 50 per cent in the country’s health facilities over the next five years, especially in remote areas.
The partners are working together to develop a large-scale Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) programme to improve access to high-quality and affordable maternal, neonatal and child health care for more than 500,000 women and 70,000 newborns in the Republic of the Congo.
UNFPA is supporting efforts to strengthen the capacities of midwives to deliver emergency obstetric and neonatal care services and thus increase the number of safe births, and Philips will provide the equipment, technological innovations and support required to improve the quality of these services.
The current focus of the global health sector on the COVID-19 response poses a risk that investments in safe birth programmes will decline.
In this context, the UNFPA and Reckitt partnership represents a unique opportunity to ensure continued strategic global engagement and investments in safe birth programmes by bringing together the distinctive skills, resources and reach of leading international actors.
The project is “Safe Birth for All,” for women and girls in Mexico, the Philippines, and Thailand to have safe births, access family planning services and prevent adolescent pregnancies.
With a focus on vulnerable communities, the project has multiple dimensions tackling both short-term and long-term objectives. It used, implemented and created digital platforms to expand the reach of comprehensive sexuality education for youth and adolescents. In parallel, the partnership worked to strengthen maternal health care services by assuring effective service deliveries. To do so, the project enhanced the provision of maternal and newborn health services and access to family planning within communities and selected health facilities, provided supplies and training to midwives and health personnel and distributed reproductive health kits to pregnant women.
The growing global partnership between UNFPA and Special Olympics was formalized by the signing of an agreement during the Nairobi Summit in November 2019. The partnership represents a shared commitment to empower youth with intellectual disabilities, especially girls and women, to access greater social protections and health services.
The partnership focuses on developing thought leadership, inclusive programmes and communication advocacy with an emphasis on positive youth development, gender equality and women’s empowerment and family engagement for inclusive health.
UNFPA and Special Olympics are collaborating in different regions of the world to implement joint initiatives. For example, in partnership with the Shakhtar Football Club, the “Come On, Play!” project teaches football skills to young girls with intellectual disabilities in four Ukrainian cities, and the sport is used as a platform for inclusion and building self-esteem. "We, like these girls, are full of positive energy after the training," said Danylo Sikan, a participating football player.
Every 11 seconds, a mother or newborn dies due to complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, such as haemorrhage, which can occur without warning and kill even a healthy woman within two hours.1
In places where maternal health services are already underfunded, diverting resources away from sexual and reproductive health services, including antenatal, childbirth, postnatal care, and family planning services, threatens women’s and newborns’ health and lives. Front-line workers, including midwives, are also at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, which may lead to
weakening already fragile health systems and can result in increased home deliveries as well as increased maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. Safe pregnancies and childbirth depend on functioning health systems and infection prevention and control measures (IPC). This means it is crucial that health facilities continue operations, allowing women and babies uninterrupted access to essential maternal and newborn health services, particularly care to manage life-threatening complications that an estimated 15% of all pregnant women are expected to face, according to a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.2
The support of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited to UNFPA’s COVID-19 Appeal through the project “Ensuring access to quality maternal and newborn health care during the COVID-19 pandemic” ensures life-saving maternal and newborn health services for at least 350,000 women and newborns in Benin, Guinea and Togo, including 12,700 women facing life-threatening complications during the COVID-19 pandemic. By prioritizing countries with weak public health and social support systems, UNFPA’s efforts focus on strengthening health system capacity, procuring and delivering essential supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers to protect against exposure from COVID-19, ensuring access to and provision of quality sexual, reproductive, maternal health and gender-based violence services, as well as supporting communication and community engagement on protective measures.
In Benin, through the Takeda-supported project, UNFPA is prototyping the use of drones to deliver essential medicines and supplies, including MNH medicine and blood to remote regions which are difficult to access. In Guinea, UNFPA has implemented a comprehensive community outreach strategy. UNFPA has provided health centers in Conakry with a fleet of 15 motorbikes, allowing midwives to more easily reach women in an emergency. In Togo, the project provides life-saving commodities to health facilities and supports remote prenatal and postnatal consultation. It also strengthens hygiene standards in maternity units and supports local production of hygiene products. Together, UNFPA and Takeda have provided essential supplies and logistical support to frontline health workers to maintain services, staff availability, and save mothers’ and newborns’ lives.
1UNICEF. Surviving birth: Every 11 seconds, a pregnant woman or newborn dies somewhere around the world. Access at: https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/surviving-birth-every-11-seconds-pregnant-woman-or-newborn-dies-somewhere-around Last access: November 2021.
2 Reproductive Health in Developing Countries: Expanding Dimensions, Building Solutions. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 1997. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK233286/ Last accessed November 2021.
As part of its Women’s Health in the Workplace programme, UNFPA engages with businesses around the world to support female employees in achieving gender equality inside and outside of work.
According to Ethical Trading Initiative, approximately 190 million women work in global supply chains concentrated in countries with high unmet needs for women’s health services. Often the needs of these women workers, from health care to protection from harassment and violence to fair wages, are neglected.
Businesses can be the agents of change to ensure that more women have the means to realize their sexual and reproductive rights by providing opportunities to overcome some of the barriers that workers face in accessing these services. Such barriers can include lack of information, financial constraints and working hours.
UNFPA works with businesses to address the specific challenges and needs of their female workforce in different regions. In some Eastern European countries, UNFPA is partnering with the private sector and governments to combat gender-based violence and to champion gender-responsive family policies. In Asia and the Pacific, UNFPA works with companies and factories to provide on-site family planning counselling and services.
Business against domestic violence, UNFPA Turkey
“I’ve had to take large amounts of sick leave and when that ran out, annual leave, to deal with the effects of an abusive partner. The fear of losing my job made dealing with the emotional and legal issues more stressful than it already was. Losing all my sick leave and much of my annual leave adds to the stress. I was trying to keep this secret of the abusive relationship away from my work life. I was ashamed and what could the company do for it anyway? ” – Anonymous email to an HR Director
Gender-based violence, which reflects and reinforces inequalities between women and men, hasIts devastating consequences that not only affect women but society as a whole. Research indicates high prevalence (32 per cent) of sexual and physical violence among white-collar working women and the absence of response mechanisms within the private sector in Turkey. This means that women, regardless of their background and seniority in their work life, are persistently subjected to physical, psychological and economic violence. This owes much to cultural norms, fear of losing one's job, shame and stigma but also lack of support mechanisms to talk about violence and seek help.
UNFPA promotes gender equality and combats gender-based violence wherever it occurs, including places of employment. Based on results of UNFPA-sponsored research, UNFPA Turkey supported the Sabancı University Corporate Governance Forum of Turkey to develop a guidebook for private-sector companies interested in supporting survivors of gender-based violence. Several companies received training to develop company policies to combat domestic violence; one of the first to participate was Garanti Bank, which established a hotline for its employees.