Health Interventions

Ordered Alphabetically by Organization

1. Organization: EngenderHealth
Countries: Global
Solution:  Post-abortion Care
For nearly two decades, EngenderHealth has partnered with developing country Ministries of Health to strengthen and modernize health systems to provide effective post-abortion care. Abortion is severely restricted throughout most of the developing world, where more than half of all induced abortions are unsafe. Performed by unskilled people, often in unsanitary environments, such abortions account for roughly 46,500 deaths per year. EngenderHealth’s programs have trained more than 15,000 clinicians—from community-based health workers to physicians—to use low-tech, lifesaving tools, such as manual vacuum aspirators and misoprostol, for treatment of complications from abortion. Healthcare providers are trained to provide counseling for family planning and referrals for other reproductive health services to improve women’s health over the long term. With timely care from a trained provider, this program prevents the needless deaths of thousands of women from unsafe abortion. 

2. Organization: Health Poverty Action
Country: Sierra Leone
Solution: Mobilizing Traditional Birth Attendants and Local Communities to Reduce Maternal Deaths
Health Poverty Action trains traditional birth attendants (TBAs) as “maternal health promoters” to work alongside often over-burdened local nurses. Up to 77% of women in rural areas of Sierra Leone deliver their babies with TBAs–often because the nearest health center is too far away or because the TBAs are trusted, respected members of their communities. However, 15% of deliveries involve complications that are too complex for TBAs to handle. Health Poverty Action leverages the status of TBAs in the community and trains them to educate women on safe motherhood practices, including the importance of attending antenatal and postnatal clinics, sleeping under mosquito nets, breastfeeding after giving birth, and delivering in a health facility with trained staff. The program also provides “birth waiting rooms” at no charge, where the maternal health promoters can provide education to mothers traveling from distant locations. Mobilized and empowered TBAs are giving pregnant women the life-saving information they need for themselves and their babies.

3. Organization: International Planned Parenthood Federation, Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan
Country: Pakistan
Solution: Women as Compensation - Reaching the Survivors of Coerced Marriages and Violence in Pakistan
The Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan (Rahnuma-FPAP) challenges the acceptance of gender-based violence and swara (“trading” young girls as compensation for a crime committed by a family member) in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The consequences of swara on girls and young women are serious–most girls are victims of forced child marriage, and they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and early pregnancy, high-risk of maternal mortality and morbidity, and transmission of STIs and HIV. Living without autonomy, girls are unable to visit a doctor, clinic, or nurse without permission. In 2010, Rahnuma-FPAP reached 211 swara girls, 283 survivors of gender-based violence, and 319 child brides, providing more than 50,000 sexual and reproductive health and counseling services. Tackling these sensitive issues in this environment is a brave but necessary step to improve girls’ lives.

4. Organization: Ipas
Countries: Nepal, Ethiopia
Solution: A Systematic Approach to Expanding Access to Safe Medical Abortion for Women in Their Communities
Ipas’ initiatives in Nepal and Ethiopia are making safe medical abortion a reality for women. Programs in these countries facilitate the registration of misoprostol and mifepristone, train healthcare providers, and provide education on safe abortion and post-abortion care, each a crucial element to the success of a maternal mortality reduction program. Ipas aims to change the landscape of women’s health and reduce maternal deaths by harnessing these interventions together.

5. Organization: Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP)
Country: Global
Solution: Respecting Women: A Model Maternities Initiative
USAID’s flagship MCHIP, led by Jhpiego and partners advocates for governments to provide a humane, caring environment in which women can give birth and improve maternal and newborn health care services. In the developing world, encouraging and enabling women to give birth in a health facility with skilled care has saved countless lives. Too often women in facilities have little influence over the environment in which they give birth and their rights are not respected. That’s why it is so important to educate midwives and doctors on humanizing care for pregnant women, including affording women privacy, respecting cultural, traditional or religious beliefs, and sharing information. In 34 hospitals in Mozambique, where the “model maternities initiative” was introduced, the number of women who gave birth with the company of their choice increased substantially and newborns who received skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding rose by 50%. MCHIP is paving the way for all pregnant women to have care that is respectful of their human dignity.

6. Organization: John Hopkins Center for Communication Programs
Countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana
Solution: Go Girls! Initiative (GGI)
The Go Girls! Initiative (GGI) developed and implemented behavior change communication approaches to reduce adolescent girls’ (age 10 to 17) susceptibility to HIV infection. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women ages 15 to 24 are as much as eight times more likely than men to be HIV positive, according to UNAIDS. GGI researched and targeted the specific needs of adolescent girls to prevent HIV and used tailored youth-focused approaches and materials. The initiative addressed barriers to accessing education, fostered life skills, strengthened parents’ and other adults’ ability to communicate with and support girls, and promoted community dialogue and action. After conducting focus groups with both girls and boys, GGI identified structural factors, especially insufficient economic, educational, socio-cultural, and legal support for adolescent girls, as the root causes of girls’ vulnerability to HIV. With a deeper understanding of girls’ perspectives, GGI pushed for stronger gender programming in HIV prevention worldwide.

7. Organization: Nairobi Women’s Hospital (NWH)
Country: Kenya
Solution: Rescue for Survivors of Gender Based Violence
Gender-based violence often happens behind closed doors, and its victims are frequently overlooked by weak justice systems or silenced by cultural norms. The Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) opens the doors on gender-based violence by providing survivors with free medical treatment and psychosocial services. Established by the Nairobi Women’s Hospital (NWH) in 2001, GVRC has already served more than 19,000 victims and currently provides support to an average of 250 survivors per month. Although more than 90% of its patients are female, GVRC recognizes that domestic violence can affect everyone and also provides services to men and boys. Additionally, NWH uses the GVRC model to train healthcare service providers and police on how to handle victims of sexual assault and rape. GVRC is not only healing victims of gender-based violence, but is helping to bring hope and meaning back into their lives. 

8. Organization: Sister Somalia
Country: Somalia
Solution: Rape Crisis Center
Sister Somalia, the first rape crisis center in Mogadishu, supports sexual violence survivors by providing counseling, medical services, relocation services, education, and business starter kits. The International Rescue Committee recently announced there has been a four-fold increase in sexual violence in Somalia since June 2011. Sister Somalia offers a sexual violence hotline, aims to provide services to 300 women a year, and influences the dialogue on women’s safety and security in Somalia. In a country where conflict persists, violence is rampant, and women have limited access to healthcare, Sister Somalia offers a lifeline of hope. 

9. Organization: Traffina Foundation
Country: Nigeria
Solution:Let’s Save Our Mothers” Mobile Ante-Natal Services
The Traffina Foundation’s “Let’s Save Our Mothers” program uses mobile antenatal services to educate communities about harmful cultural practices that can lead to maternal death. In Nigeria, one in 23 women will die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth, according to UNFPA. To combat these maternal deaths, Chinomnso Traffina Ibe, a young, registered nurse-midwife, founded the Traffina Foundation and launched “Let’s Save Our Mothers” to give women in rural communities the opportunity to confidentially share stories about the challenges they face regarding maternal health. Women shared stories of unsafe practices, such as inserting herbal leaves into their vaginas to help beautify their babies and placing cow dung on the umbilical stump. Health workers can then help to prevent these harmful practices with proper health education and ante-natal services–and save mother’s lives.

10. Organization: Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC)
Countries: Global, South Sudan, Uganda, Haiti
Solution: Reducing Maternal Mortality through Disaster Risk Reduction Policy and Planning
The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) developed an advocacy and action plan to help countries incorporate maternal and reproductive health services into their disaster preparedness policies and plans. The WRC recognizes that in emergency situations, women are disproportionately affected by mortality. Women have an increased chance of dying during pregnancy and childbirth in the days and weeks following an emergency due to breakdowns of health infrastructure, increased risk of sexual violence, and a lack of focus on reproductive healthcare by emergency personnel. Globally, WRC advises and trains international agencies, governments, and other organizations on identifying and addressing critical gaps in maternal and reproductive health services during times of crisis. WRC reaches a wide range of organizations through its online training program. Thus far, more than 1,800 individuals from 200 organizations have passed through the online training program for first responders. The WRC advocates for and conducts trainings of frontline workers on the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP), which provides an outline of the necessary equipment and the life-saving actions that trained staff should undertake during the early days of a crisis. During times of crisis, the WRC ensures that the needs of women and girls are not forgotten.


Organization: Heineken Africa Foundation, Nigerian Breweries
Country: Nigeria
Solution: Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Project and clinic
The Vesico-Vaginal Fistula Project addresses the medical aspects of vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) by upgrading and expanding the VVF Center at the Hajia Gambo Sawaba General Hospital in Zaria, Nigeria, the only clinic treating this form of fistula in Kaduna State. The project also targets the socio-economic aspects of VVF through prevention and education programs and through efforts to provide economic and social support to women who suffer from VVF.

Organization: Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, Cell-Life
Country: Nigeria
Solution: mHealth for Community in Action
The Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) and Cell-Life are working to implement several programs that use mobile technology to improve HIV/AIDS services in local communities. Specific programs include: iDART, a software that supports the dispensing of ARVs in the public health sector; “Cellphones 4 HIV” (C4H), a program that links patients to clinics, enables peer-to-peer support, and enables mass messaging for HIV prevention, medication adherence, and information for “positive living”; and EMIT, a program to capture information on prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) patients for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

Organization: ChildFund International
Country: Senegal
Solution: Bringing Aid to the Nation’s Most Vulnerable
ChildFund International’s Senegal Community Health Project provides community-based health outreach to both rural and urban areas across the country. The effort focuses on four main areas: maternal healthcare, child healthcare, tropical disease management, and female genital mutilation/cutting. Services include neonatal and prenatal care, disease management strategies, and targeted pilot programs for community-based distribution of specific interventions, such as misoprostol and Uniject–a safe, non-reusable injection tool that eliminates the reuse of syringes.

Organization: AYZH Inc.
Country: India
Solution: Janma Birth Kit
AYZH’s US $2 Janma Birth Kit contains the tools a woman needs to have a sanitary birth in even the most remote communities. AZYH aims to prevent potentially dangerous births by supplementing birth kit sales with education and partnering with local organizations to build awareness and capacity. Additionally, AYZH sets up supply chains for local manufacturing to keep costs low and boost economic opportunity. The kits are assembled by women’s self-help groups and distributed through the existing infrastructure of retailers and nongovernmental organizations.

Organization: LifeOptions, Women’s Health Cambodia
Country: Cambodia
Solution: Chong Nai Hy Midwifery Program
The Chong Nai Hy Midwifery Program provides midwives with face-to-face education, support, and equipment and provides postnatal visits for women who give birth in supported health centers. To support these efforts, the program provided each health center with a tuk tuk ambulance, allowing facilities to provide assistance more rapidly.

 Organization: John Snow International Research and Training Institute, Inc.
Country: Georgia
Solution: SUSTAIN Project
John Snow International’s SUSTAIN Project aims to help achieve country-wide access to and utilization of modern, evidence-based and family-friendly maternal health and family planning services in Georgia. The program intends to expand private-sector partnerships that encourage sustainable, affordable financing mechanisms, institutionalize evidence-based reproductive healthcare, reform pre-service training, and create educated reproductive health consumers. This vision focuses on groups often overlooked by other initiatives, including young people just entering their reproductive years, young couples growing their families, ethnic minorities, and marginalized members of Georgian society.

Organization: Fistula Care Project
Countries:16 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia
Solution:  Making Strides Towards a Fistula-Free World
The Fistula Care Project increases access to life-altering fistula repair and removes barriers to emergency obstetric care. The project works with communities to generate awareness about fistula; strengthen access to family planning and quality obstetric care to prevent fistula; improve local surgical facilities; and train surgical teams on fistula repair, care and management. The project works with professional associations and national authorities to establish and monitor quality services, standardize care, and incorporate fistula prevention and treatment into other maternal health programs.

Organization: The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute
Country: Global
Solution: Seeing the End of Diseases of Poverty
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) adversely impact many socio-economic issues, such as programs to improve education, girls’ empowerment, and economic development. The Global Network aims to combat the seven most common NTDs by raising awareness, garnering funding and collaborating with partners worldwide. The Global Network fights for an end to NTDs through cost-effective and efficient public health programs.

Organization: WE CARE Solar
Countries: Nigeria, Liberia, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Uganda
Solution: Portable, Cost-effective Solar Suitcases for Maternal Health Care Centers in Low-resource Areas without Reliable Electricity
WE CARE Solar designs and delivers portable, cost-effective solar suitcases for maternal health facilities in regions without reliable electricity. By using solar electricity to provide health workers with consistent lighting, mobile communication, fetal monitoring and blood bank refrigeration, WE CARE Solar promotes safe motherhood and reduces maternal and newborn mortality in many of the world's developing regions.

Organization: Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)
Countries: Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria
Solution: Youth Peer Providers
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Youth Peer Provider (YPP) program provides young people with the means to realize their basic human rights to information and health, and to decide if, when, and how many children to have. YPPs are trained in contraceptive counseling and provide friends, classmates, and acquaintances with consistent access to contraceptive pills, condoms, emergency contraception, and, in some countries, injectables. YPPs provide a full range of options, in discrete settings, to allow young people to choose the method that will work best for them. The YPP approach increases knowledge and uptake of contraceptives among young people in every community in which it operates.

Organization: UN Foundation
Countries: Bangladesh, India, South Africa
Solution: Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA)
The Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) uses mobile phones to deliver health information to new and expectant mothers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa. Through free, adaptable mobile health messages, MAMA provides vital information to new and expectant mothers who have little or no access to healthcare or health information. MAMA works in partnership with local governments, mobile operators, and nongovernmental organizations to ensure that its efforts can be expanded or replicated to reach as many mothers possible.

Organization: Centro de Investigación, Educación y Servicios (CIES)
Country: Bolivia
Solution: Centro de Investigacion, Educacion y Servicios (CIES) Introduces the HPV Vaccine in Bolivia
In response to high rates of cervical cancer in Bolivia, Centro de Investigación, Educación y Servicios (CIES) worked to bring HPV vaccines to girls in extremely impoverished areas with high cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates and limited access to health services. In partnership with the Bolivian government, CIES offered the HPV vaccine in schools, health centers, and mobile clinics to ensure widespread access to this lifesaving prevention measure. Through the program, CIES increased the number of girls reached and raised public awareness about HPV.

21. Organization: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Extending Service Delivery (ESD) Project
Country: Yemen
Solution: Basic Health Services Program (BHS)
The Basic Health Services (BHS) Program worked with Yemen’s government to improve maternal and child health in five northern and eastern provinces. BHS worked closely with Yemen’s Ministry of Health and Population to increase access to quality healthcare services and to promote knowledge and awareness of maternal, child, and reproductive health issues among communities. BHS also renovated health facilities, trained staff, established mobile healthcare teams, and trained community midwives. BHS reached some of Yemen’s most isolated and underserved areas, where rates of maternal and infant mortality are among the highest in the Arab world.

Organization: Women on Waves
Country: Global
Solution: Access to Abortion Pill
Women on Waves is a nonprofit organization that sails women who live in countries where abortion is illegal to international waters where they can receive reproductive health services. By bringing women out to sea, Women on Waves provides early medical abortions safely, professionally, and legally. The service opens a public platform to discuss the risks of unsafe abortion and women’s right to control their bodies and their lives.

Organization: Community Midwives Education Program, Afghan Midwives Association, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Country: Afghanistan
Solution: Rewarding the Heroic Work of Midwives in Afghanistan
The Afghan Midwives Association, the Ministry of Public Health, and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) recently created the “Delivering Health, Saving Lives” award to celebrate talented midwives. Winners must show personal integrity and act as positive role models in their communities. These partners collaborate on a Community Midwives Education Program, which provides midwife training services to rural women across Afghanistan. In return, each trainee commits to opening a “family health house” in her community where she can provide round-the-clock services to neighbors.

Return to the full list of Women Deliver 50 winners.