Working to reduce maternal mortality and improve the quality of maternal and reproductive health care in India, Mexico, and Nigeria.
MacArthur has a long history of supporting work in population and reproductive health in India, Mexico, Nigeria, and globally. In recent years, the Foundation has supported broad and deep efforts to accelerate progress on the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5, aimed at improving maternal health.
The primary goals of the Foundation’s grantmaking in population and reproductive health are to reduce maternal mortality and improve the quality of maternal and reproductive health care in its focus countries: India, Mexico, and Nigeria.
The Foundation also supports selected organizations in the population and reproductive health field whose work promotes innovation in policy, programs, and services.
Reducing Maternal Mortality in India and Nigeria
Globally, roughly 289,000 women die each year from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth and virtually all of these deaths take place in developing countries. Most maternal deaths are preventable, given sufficient resources. The United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5 called for a reduction in maternal mortality ratios of 75 percent (from their 1990 levels) by 2015. Since 1990, the maternal mortality ratio has dropped by 45 percent – a sign of progress and indicator that more work remains.
MacArthur's support of work on maternal mortality seeks to increase the chances that women will have safer pregnancies and deliveries. These improved outcomes are also an indicator of the availability of services that help women make informed reproductive choices.
Enhancing Quality of Maternal Health Care in Mexico
The World Health Organization and other international health bodies have acknowledged the professional midwife as the guardian of normal pregnancy and birth since the 1970s and have more recently recognized the shortage of professional midwives internationally. Yet professional midwifery is uncommon in Mexico, and options for training and employment are scarce. The 2014 State of Midwifery in the World estimates that there are only 78 professional midwives in Mexico.
In 2015, MacArthur will begin a three-year grantmaking strategy that seeks to improve maternal and reproductive health by strengthening and supporting professional midwifery. This time-limited grantmaking strategy will support efforts to expand professional midwifery training; to deploy midwives; to improve policy surrounding midwifery; and to educate the public, healthcare providers, and other important audiences about midwifery.