Population & Reproductive Health

Our Goal

MacArthur’s grantmaking supports efforts to reduce maternal mortality and improve the quality of maternal and reproductive health care in India, Mexico, and Nigeria. After nearly 30 years of work in population and reproductive health, the Foundation will conclude this grantmaking by 2018.

As we bring our work to a close, the Foundation will narrow its focus to three areas: In Mexico, we will support and advance the field of professional midwifery; in India, we will work to improve the quality of maternal health care; in Nigeria, we will support work to implement the newly expanded role of community health extension workers as outlined in the new task shifting policy.


MacArthur has a long history of supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights work in India, Mexico, Nigeria, and globally. The Foundation is proud of the many accomplishments of the innovative, dedicated grantees supported through this work, which has helped to bring about a paradigm shift in the field. Achievements over years of partnership with organizations include bringing attention to maternal health and young people’s sexual and reproductive health issues globally, and improving access to quality health care, recognizing and protecting fundatmental rights, and introducing sexual education curricula in countries around the world.

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. A target of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. 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.


During the legacy phase of maternal health grantmaking in India, the Foundation aims to accelerate progress of the Indian health system’s transition from an emphasis on creating access to maternal health services to one that prioritizes provision of high-quality services, and lay the groundwork to institutionalize quality improvement practices for maternal health in the public and private health sectors. The grantmaking strategy will support efforts to foster a quality of care agenda through building evidence and supporting advocacy for quality maternal health services, strengthen the supply of quality maternal health services in the public and private sector; and build demand for quality services by supporting for accountability mechanisms.

The Foundation does not accept any inquiries for work in India.


To address the health care human resources shortage in Nigeria, in 2014, the Federal Ministry of Health adopted a national Task Shifting and Sharing Policy for Essential Health Services. The new policy, which sets guidelines under which specific tasks are moved from highly qualified health workers to health workers requiring less training and fewer qualifications, represents a significant leap forward towards improving access to effective, quality maternal and reproductive health care. During the legacy phase of grantmaking in Nigeria, the Foundation will support initiatives to generate momentum towards full implementation of the policy. Over time, we expect that the expanded role of community health extension workers will be recognized and institutionalized in the health care system, leading to better access to quality maternal and reproductive health services.

The Foundation does not accept any inquiries for work in Nigeria.

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 and have 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 began a three-year grantmaking strategy that seeks to improve maternal and reproductive health by strengthening and supporting professional midwifery. This time-limited grantmaking strategy supports efforts to expand professional midwifery training venues and trainers; to deploy midwives by supporting their integration into the health teams and communities and creating new models; to improve state and federal policy surrounding midwifery to facilitate licensing, hiring, and integration; and to educate the public, healthcare providers, and other important audiences about midwifery.

The Foundation no longer accepts any inquiries for work in Mexico.

Supporting the Broader Sexual and Reproductive Health Field

A global complement to the country-specific grantmaking in India, Mexico, and Nigeria, the International portfolio has made awards to sustain the infrastructure of the broader sexual and reproductive health field; reinforce country work; fund research; support global maternal and reproductive health efforts; and promote advocacy and accountability.

The Foundation no longer accepts any requests for this portfolio.


Updated September 2017


Portrait of Stephanie Platz

Stephanie Platz

Managing Director, Programs
Portrait of Erin Sines

Erin Sines

Co-Director, On Nigeria
Portrait of Moutushi Sengupta

Moutushi Sengupta

Director, India Office
Portrait of Sharon Bissell

Sharon Bissell

Director, Mexico
Portrait of Kole A. Shettima

Kole A. Shettima

Co-Director, On Nigeria; Director, Africa Office
Portrait of Oladayo (Dayo) Olaide

Oladayo (Dayo) Olaide

Deputy Director, Nigeria Office
Portrait of Liliane Loya

Liliane Loya

Deputy Director, Mexico
Portrait of Kate Abramson

Kate Abramson

Administrator, On Nigeria
Portrait of Quinn Hanzel

Quinn Hanzel

Grants Manager
Portrait of Ursula Wheeler

Ursula Wheeler

Coordinator, On Nigeria

Evaluation Contact

Portrait of Joanna Cohen

Joanna Cohen

Senior Evaluation Officer
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