Programs Supporting Midwives use Innovative Approaches

Innovations for Improved Maternal and Child Health through Midwives

In light of the International Confederation of Midwives’s 30th Triennial Congress occurring this week, the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) takes a look at the 68 different programs profiled in our database that support the work of midwives worldwide. In addition to the concurrent release of the UNFPA’s “State of the World’s Midwifery” which reports on the need for midwives in 73 countries, the ICM congress featured presentations from hundreds of experts in the field and was visited by over 3,500 delegates from around the world. The #ICMLive congress attracted attention to scientific research and international development organizations working to improve maternal health worldwide, just as CHMI works to attract attention to innovative health programs.

According to the UNFPA and the ICM, educated midwives can save 3.6 million lives by preventing maternal, fetal, and newborn deaths. By improving availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of midwife services these organizations hope to ensure that women have universal access to care. Midwife-supporting programs in the CHMI database report results in many of the above categories, and use the following innovations to ensure that mothers get the care they need from trained midwives.


Three programs use “midwife kits” to provide the necessary sanitary tools to traditional birth attendants. In South Sudan the Wunlang Health Clinic Project provides Midwife Kits to train birth attendants on hygienic deliveries. The kits contain a towel, a washcloth, and a bedsheet for the mother in labor and soap, gloves, a razor, and umbilical cord ties for the midwife. Midwives receive a seven-day training session on proper kit use before returning to their villages. The project provided 400 kits to the Wunlang training facility in Februrary 2013



Eleven programs organize care delivery through a franchise system. The Well-Family Midwife Clinic operates in the Philippines to make quality maternal and child health care affordable and available. The franchise operates in 20 provinces and includes 132 outlets. Franchisee midwives are able to receive entrepreneurial training in financial and business services – the franchises are all for-profit.  Read more about franchise successes in the Philippines from our partners at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in their Database at a glance


Mobile Clinics

Twelve programs operate mobile clinics to enhance processes of care. In Afghanistan the program Holistic Health for Mother and Baby works to reduce maternal and newborn death and injury. Clinics provide medical treatment, health services and education. In addition to providing trainings for midwives and community health workers, Holistic Health also guides women through educational workshops to better prepare them for delivery. 94.7% of women in these “Expectant Mother Workshops” gave birth in a clinic or hospital, compared to the national average of 15%


These programs demonstrate some of the exciting innovations that health organizations are finding to improve healthcare for mothers and children. Read more about the innovations that 286 CHMI-profiled programs are using in Maternal Newborn and Child Health for issues including midwives and more. The CHMI 2013 MNCH Brief uses academic research to explore the evidence of these innovations with and learn what works.


Photo: Midwives recieve their kits during a training in Wunlang ©2013 Village Help for South Sudan