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Part of a larger, strategic Danish Government visit to India to drive bilateral dialogue on green investments and partnerships
NEW DELHI, Feb. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark visited the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi along with the international NGO Maternity Foundation today to support India’s fight against maternal mortality and champion quality maternal health. HRH Crown Princess Mary’s trip is part of a larger strategic visit by Danish Government representatives to India to drive bilateral dialogue on green investments and partnerships.
During her visit, HRH Crown Princess Mary recognized the significant progress made by India to reduce the national maternal mortality rate over the past two decades. HRH Crown Princess Mary acknowledged the crucial role of the quality improvement initiatives and public private collaborations, in strengthening maternal health and building a stronger healthcare workforce for improved outcomes for mothers and newborns in the country. The Patron of Maternity Foundation, HRH Crown Princess Mary also participated, in a skilling program, where doctors, nurses and healthcare workers were trained in using the Safe Delivery App.
The Government of India has been partnering with Maternity Foundation since 2017 through the LaQshya program (National quality improvement program for Labour room) to scale up the adoption of the Safe Delivery App and its training program for healthcare workers to ensure safer childbirth for women and newborns.
Maternity Foundation builds skills and knowledge among midwives and other healthcare workers through innovative programs and digital solutions, including the Safe Delivery App. So far, 150,000 healthcare workers have been reached in India. The Safe Delivery application is well integrated into the Government’s national-level initiatives focusing on quality improvement and with private sector health facility accreditation program like Manyata, for practicing healthcare workers, as well as those studying to become nurses or midwives. Through the app, healthcare workers gain easy access to updated clinical protocols and learning opportunities to increase their midwifery skills and knowledge. The app is free, works offline and can reach healthcare workers in peri-urban areas.
Maternal health is a fundamental pillar of any healthy society and is a prerequisite for advancing the well-being of communities worldwide. India has made considerable progress in reducing infant and maternal mortality over the past years. The national maternal mortality ratio has declined to 97 per 100,000 live births in 2018-20 from 301 in 20011. One of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 20302 and India is fast approaching the global goal. However, having a skilled workforce is integral to this. The progress has been uneven across the country, with several parts of the country still lagging significantly behind the national average on maternal mortality.
Global data also indicates the significance of quality of care. Overall, evidence shows that the majority of all maternal deaths can be prevented3 if women receive quality care from a skilled healthcare worker, allowing 4.3 million lives to be saved annually by 2035. In fact, data shows that more women die from inadequate maternal healthcare than from not seeking care at all5. Unfortunately, there is a significant global shortage of midwives, with almost 1 million more needed6, especially in low-income countries, to meet the demand, coupled with a need to improve the quality of care provided while reducing the inequity in accessing maternal healthcare.
New data shows that progress in reducing the global maternal mortality rate stagnated after 2015 and that everyone must significantly accelerate progress to meet global targets for reducing maternal deaths, or else risk the lives of over 1 million more women by 20304. This points to the critical importance of investing in quality care.
“We are proud to be scaling up the Safe Delivery Program in India together with the Indian government and key partners. Some of the key strategies to ensure safer births and hence reduce maternal and newborn mortality include ensuring equitable access to quality maternal health services by supporting midwives and healthcare workers in remote, rural, and marginalised areas, and improving the quality of care provided to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Through our digital tool combined with training, we can reach healthcare workers in areas of India where maternal mortality rates lag behind the national average. We can build up their skills and knowledge, ensuring safer births for both the mothers and their babies and hence improve the quality of care provided,” said, Anna Frellsen, CEO of Maternity Foundation.
The Safe Delivery App is a clinical job aid and education tool that has been scaled globally, providing updated clinical guidance on how to manage childbirth and common birth complications, including severe bleeding, infections, and neonatal asphyxia, accounting for a large number of all maternal and neonatal deaths. The app is free to download, and it also works offline, making it possible to reach even the most remote healthcare workers. Today, Maternity Foundation supports several states and is formally integrated into national-level initiatives focused on quality improvements, for practising healthcare workers, as well as those studying to become nurses or midwives. The Safe Delivery App is available in 8 languages (English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, Telegu, Assamese), and over 150,000 healthcare workers have been reached. Globally, Maternity Foundation has partner engagement in more than 15 countries and has so far reached more than 390,000 healthcare workers in 40 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia.
2 SDG Target 3.1: Reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births (who.int)
3 Maternal health (unfpa.org)
4 Trends in maternal mortality 2000 to 2020: estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and UNDESA/Population Division
6 Nove A. et. al., Potential impact of midwives in preventing and reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and stillbirths: a Lives Saved Tool modelling study, the Lancet Global Health; 2020
5 The State of the World’s Midwifery 2021 (unfpa.org)
About Maternity Foundation: Maternity Foundation works to improve maternal and newborn health. We develop and integrate scalable programs and digital solutions that empower birth attendants, pregnant women and new mothers in low- and middle-income countries.
About Safe Delivery App: A digital innovation to skill birth attendants to provide better care and ensure safer deliveries. The Safe Delivery App provides skilled birth attendants with instant, evidence-based and up-to-date clinical guidelines on how to handle complications connected to pregnancy and childbirth–straight from their phones or tablets. The App uses simple, animated instruction videos, procedures, drug lists and e-learning tools to guide skilled birth attendants in basic emergency obstetric and newborn care.
Content & Features
The App consists of 13 content modules addressing key interventions of childbirth emergencies and preventative procedures, all aligned to Government of India Guidelines