August 30, 2023

Maternity Foundation and UNFPA release new service to help millions of women with an unmet need for contraception

The international NGO Maternity Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have just launched a new digital training module for healthcare providers to help close the huge gap in the unmet need for modern contraception. According to WHO, 270 million women of reproductive age group (15-49 years) worldwide in 2019 had an unmet need for condoms, oral contraceptive pills, and other modern contraceptive methods. 

Use of contraception advances women’s choice in deciding the number and spacing of their children. Research has shown that when childbirth occurs within a gap of less than two years, the infant mortality rate surges by an alarming 45% compared to when births are spaced 2-3 years apart. Use of family planning can also help avert the 25 million unsafe abortions that occur each year. Additionally, use of contraceptive methods offers a range of potential non-health benefits that encompass expanded education opportunities and empowerment for women, and sustainable population growth and economic development for countries

”Family planning is not just about reproductive rights and choices for women. It is a critical pathway to healthier and more prosperous societies, a woman’s empowerment and a child’s future”, says Geeta Lal, Senior Technical Advisor Maternal Health & Midwifery at UNFPA.  

Reaching midwives across the world

The new module on modern contraception has now been published within the widely-used free, digital tool, the Safe Delivery App. To date, the Safe Delivery App and the accompanying programme have reached more than 375,000 healthcare professionals globally.

The Safe Delivery App is a job aid and training tool for midwives and other healthcare professionals in low-resource settings. It provides essential guidance on how to handle birth and the most common complications through animated videos and description of procedures, among other features. With the new module on modern contraception, the focus of the Safe Delivery App is being expanded from basic emergency obstetric and newborn care to also include preventive services. Recently, a module on maternal mental health was also published. 

The new module will empower midwives and other healthcare professionals providing maternity care to gain the skills and expertise needed to assist individual women in selecting and effectively using the contraceptive method that best suits their needs and preferences. Given midwives and other healthcare professionals providing maternity care have distinct access to women during the pregnancy and delivery processes, they are uniquely positioned to offer thorough family planning guidance and support.

“At Maternity Foundation, we are proud to launch the new module on modern contraception within the Safe Delivery App together with our long-term partner UNFPA. Together, we will be able to reach thousands of healthcare professionals across the world with up-to-date guidance on modern contraception, thereby helping to prevent pregnancy-related health risks for women, especially for adolescent girls,” says Anna Frellsen, CEO at Maternity Foundation. 

The new module on modern contraception will be available in the global English version of the Safe Delivery App, but there are plans to have it translated into more languages. The App is currently available in around 30 languages and used in more than 40 countries.  

Long-term partnership to improve maternal healthcare 

Maternity Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have been working together since 2016 to empower more midwives in providing quality maternal and newborn healthcare by scaling up the Safe Delivery App and Programme.  

Today, the partners are working together in more than 10 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, and Southeast Asia and have plans to expand their collaboration in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2023.  

Contact for more information   

Ann-Marie Christiansen, Head of Clinical Development, Maternity Foundation:

Geeta Lal, Senior Technical Advisor Maternal Health & Midwifery: