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 Johnson & Johnson’s commitment at the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) held in November 2019. At the Nairobi Summit, Johnson & Johnson pledged its support to achieving the “Three Zeros.” Further information on Johnson & Johnson’s commitment at the Nairobi Summit can be found here. Johnson & Johnson Foundation was an initial funder of the Safe Birth, Even Here campaign by UNFPA that aimed to encourage private sector partners to come together to end preventable maternal deaths.
In a world where every 2 minutes a woman dies giving birth, beginning in 2017, UNFPA and Johnson & Johnson Foundation collaborated on the five-year project: “Safe Birth, Even Here: Reducing Maternal Mortality in Fragile Contexts”. The project reduced 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. UNFPA completed the two year midwifery advocacy project titled: “Midwives: The Unsung Heroes of Maternal and Newborn Health”. This project funded by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation centered 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.
As part of the efforts to improve collaboration and coordinated efforts between midwifery stakeholders, UNFPA has recently established AIME: The Alliance to Improve Midwifery Education in 2021, through the support of the Johnson and Johnson Foundation. It is envisaged that improved coordination and collaboration between partners, will contribute to better quality of care for women, newborns and their families through strengthening midwifery education, training and the professionalization of midwives.
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.
As a result, UNFPA has teamed up with the Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation to strengthen the quality of midwifery training and education globally. Going into its third year, one key output is to develop a competency based curriculum resource that most African, Latin American and Asian countries can use to build upon competency based midwifery education. In addition, for continuous professional development, new e-modules and face to face training module. These can be used for strengthening emergency obstetric care competencies of midwives and there are also modules for faculty development. These efforts will support the delivery of high-quality midwifery services within health facilities and community settings in the respective countries.