It Should Not Cost Life to Give Life

Maternity Foundation is a Danish development organization that aims to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in developing countries.

Every year, around 300,000 women die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth, 2.7 million babies die during the first 28 days of life, and 2.6 million stillbirths occur. The majority of these deaths are preventable.

Maternity Foundation works to empower and mobilize women to seek care, to build the capacity of and train health practitioners, so that more women give birth with skilled birth attendance. Maternity Foundation’s own program, the Maternal and Newborn Health Program in Ethiopia, works with local partners in the capacity building of health care workers and empowering the community to seek care.

Maternity Foundation focuses on developing evidence-based solutions that can be scaled up to benefit as many women and newborns as possible. With this approach, the organisation is positioning itself as a strong actor within the emerging field of mHealth, with mobile solutions such as The Safe Delivery App, which is currently being implemented across sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Since 2010, HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has been a patron of Maternity Foundation. The Crown Princess is an active advocate for women’s rights and health, and is a member of the international high-level panel of ICPD and patron for the UN Population Fund.

Maternity Foundation was established in 2005 and is headquartered in Denmark.

History & Milestones


  • Maternity Foundation participates in a TechVelopment Roundtable event in Addis Abeba on supporting women and girls in Ethiopia with tech. The event is co-coordinated with UN Women, The Danish Embassy in Ethiopia and ITU.
  • The Myanmar version of the Safe Delivery App is launched in cooperation with Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports and Danish Medical Women’s Association.


  • The Hindi version of the Safe Delivery App is launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Jhpiego with the support of MSD for Mothers.
  • The Safe Delivery App is launched in a Lao version together with the Lao PDR ministry of health, World Bank and UNFPA.
  • Presentation at UNFPA event on maternal health in humanitarian settings at the global International Confederation of Midwives conference in Toronto.
  • Launch of Lucy, a text message service for pregnant women in Ethiopia, together with partners TTC Mobile, Health(e)Foundation and Ethiopian Midwives Association.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides support for the implementation and scale-up of the Safe Delivery App.
  • Commitment with UN’s Every Woman Every Child to reach 20.000 skilled birth attendants with The Safe Delivery App App before end of 2018, thereby help ensuring more than 2 million women a safer childbirth.
  • Updated version of The Safe Delivery App is launched based on WHO’s global clinical guidelines.
  • Artist Sofe Bird Møller creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Maternity Foundation and Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA) enters into a partnership on developing a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) curriculum for midwives in Ethiopia, integrating The Safe Delivery App.
  • Based on the successful results from our program in Ethiopia, launch of new Maternal and Newborn Health program targeting nine new districts (600.000 people and 28 health facilities) in West Wollega in Ethiopia.
  • The Safe Delivery App is featured in a new film produced by Apple about the power of apps presented by Apple CEO Tim Cook at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
  • Maternity Foundation has a strong presence at the Woman Deliver conference in Copenhagen, which gathers more than 5000 stakeholders from the global health and women’s rights community. This includes co-hosting the event “Scaling Innovations to Save the Lives of Mothers and Babies” with MSD for Mothers, UN Foundation, Concern Worldwide, Philips and more.
  • Article on The Safe Delivery App is published in the internationally renowned medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.
  • Participation in workshop in London on mobile health hosted by MSD for Mothers and Gates Foundation.
  • Danish jewelry company Carré produces the LIV (“Life”) bracelet in support of Maternity Foundation.
  • Artist Jeppe Eisner creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • The Safe Delivery App is launched in App Store and at Google Play.
  • The Safe Delivery App is presented at several international conferences, including the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Conference in Vancouver and Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City.
  • Commitment to reach 10.000 health workers with the Safe Delivery App announced with UN’s Every Women Every Child during the UN General Assembly in New York.
  • Co-hosting event on “Mobile Innovations for Maternal Health” at the Morgan Library and Museum during the UN Week in New York together with MSD for Mothers, Marie Stopes Tanzania and mPowering Frontline Healthworkers.
  • The French Embassy’s Human Rights Prize is awarded to Maternity Foundation by Ambassador François Zimeray at a memorable ceremony at the French Embassy in Copenhagen.
  • Establishment of a task force of 24 trainers in Ethiopia, who will conduct trainings of midwives and health workers based on an intensive course in facilitation skills and Maternity Foundation’s training compendium.
  • Celebration of Maternity Foundation’s 10 year anniversary attended by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary.
  • Photographer Anne Prytz Schaldemose creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Continues to operate under the name of Maternity Foundation now independently from the British sister organization Maternity Worldwide.
  • Completion of the clinical trial of the Safe Delivery App in Ethiopia in cooperation with University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark.
  • Establishment of the first Regional Maternal Capacity Hub in Addis Abeba in Ethiopia, our first major step in becoming a leading innovator and catalyst for maternal and newborn health across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Recruitment of first Regional Manager based in Ethiopia.
  • Receives the prestigious Vallø Pris.
  • Presents results at international conferences such as GETHealth Summit in Dublin.
  • Artist Anika Lori creates the annual Mother’s Day card.


  • Launch of the project: “mHealth for Maternal and Perinatal Health Research project (2013-2014)” to test mobile health tools developed in cooperation between University of Copenhagen and Maternity Foundation.
  • Partnership with SOS Children’s Villages about capacity building SOS’ health clinics within reproductive health.
  • Becomes an operational partner to the Ethiopian regional health authorities’ Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care training program.


  • Partnership with the Danish branch of the international pharmaceutical company MSD/Merck. Through this partnership Maternity Foundation is invited to apply for a grant under the MSD/Merck for Mothers’ Global Giving Program. A grant is successfully obtained to Maternity Foundation and University of Copenhagen’s mHealth development and research project.
  • Partnership with Grundfos about sustainable technologies to enhance safe birthing environments in targeted health facilities in Ethiopia.
  • Collaboration with the Ethiopian regional health ministry about the establishment and running of a satellite training center for basic emergency obstetric and newborn care.
  • Partnership with the Norwegian foundation Kavli Trust regarding support for integrated maternal health project.
  • Christian Stadil is designer behind a custom made iPhone cover as part of the annual Mother’s Day campaign.


  • Second phase of the “Integrated Maternal Health Project (2011 – 2014)” in West Wollega, Ethiopia, targeting 60 villages, 2 hospitals, 8 health centers and 80 health posts in 4 districts is established. The integrated approach focuses on building the capacity of the health system through clinical training and on empowering the community through health education and livelihood strengthening.
  • Partnership with University of Copenhagen about developing and testing innovative mHealth (mobile health) technologies and approaches for reproductive health.


  • Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark becomes the patron of Maternity Foundation.
  • Attainment of independent NGO operating license in Ethiopia enabling a scale up of the program.


  • Establishment of a long-term operational partnership with The Obel Family Foundation (Det Obelske Familiefond) and a number of other partners including; Bech Bruun (legal assistance), Buus Jensen (audit) and Decato (IT and communication).
  • First Mothers’ Day fundraising and awareness campaign: “Save a Mother’s Life on Mother’s Day”.


  • First phase of the “Integrated Maternal Health Project (2006 – 2009)” in West Wollega, Ethiopia, targeting 40 villages, 4 health centers and 1 hospital in 3 districts is established. The integrated approach focuses on building the capacity of the health system through clinical training and on empowering the community through health education and livelihood strengthening.


  • Maternity Foundation is founded by M.D. in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Henriette Svarre Nielsen, and five other Danish women.


In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Maternity Foundation in collaboration with Copenhagen University, Laerdal Global, International Confederation of Midwives and UNFPA, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency have launched new digital content to equip skilled birth attendants in low-resource settings to protect themselves, mothers and newborns from the Coronavirus.
See the new COVID-19 video below and learn more about the COVID-19 content in the Safe Delivery App, which is available in English, French and Hindi.

Play video Read more

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