Throughout our 40 years, Jhpiego has played a critical role in strengthening professional associations of nurses, physicians, midwives and regional health organizations. We have assisted these groups in leading countries to find solutions to the complex problems affecting their health systems.
Afghanistan had virtually no midwifery workforce when Jhpiego began its work there in 2003. An aggressive plan to reduce maternal mortality focused on the development of a highly skilled midwifery workforce. The Afghan Midwives Association (AMA) was formed with Jhpiego’s assistance. The AMA helped spearhead the improvement of midwifery practices throughout Afghanistan, and has at least in part been credited for the dramatic decrease in maternal mortality in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Mortality Survey released in 2011 by the Afghan government found that 327 Afghan women die for every 100,000 births, in contrast to 1,400 per 100,000 births, the ratio reported in 2008 by the World Health Organization. Today, the AMA has chapters representing over 2000 midwives working in 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. It has been essential in the development of national education and practice standards and has served as a role model for midwifery associations in other parts of the world.
Jhpiego supported the Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI) in setting up a comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (CEmONC) program to train frontline medical officers to provide CEmONC services. Jhpiego created three centers of excellence, and set up a coordinating mechanism at FOGSI. As a result, FOGSI received a grant from the Government of India to scale up the model, during which 20 centers were established and hundreds of medical officers trained. The program continues today almost 10 years after Jhpiego’s initial support.
Jhpiego also provides leadership at the regional level. For example, in 1999, Jhpiego was instrumental in helping to establish the Regional Center for Quality of Health Care at Makerere University in Kamapa, Uganda. To this day, the Center provides leadership in building regional capacity to improve quality of health care by promoting better practices. The Center has become sustainable and is an important legacy of Jhpiego’s work in Uganda.
In addition, Jhpiego has maintained an ongoing commitment to the East, Central, and Southern African College of Nursing (ECSACON). This organization of national nursing and midwifery associations has been a strong ally in scaling up Jhpiego’s solutions to health care challenges within this important region. Jhpiego has worked with the Society of African Gynecologists and Obstetricians (SAGO) to develop educational initiatives in family planning and emergency obstetric and newborn care for pre-service education. Jhpiego had a significant leadership presence at the SAGO 12th Congress in Niamey, Niger, in January 2013.
On the international level, Jhpiego is very active with professional associations. We work closely, for example, with both the International Council of Nurses (ICN) and International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) to strengthen their member associations. Jhpiego was a major contributor to both ICN and ICM when both hosted their global meetings for the first time in Africa. We also have strong collaboration with FIGO, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which recently endorsed Jhpiego’s policy statement on the global expansion of postpartum IUDs.
National, regional and international associations and bodies will continue to be strong allies in spreading Jhpiego’s best practices and strategies. These organizations are vital to building and maintaining the global health workforce and Jhpiego is proud to have taken a leadership role in strengthening them.