Over the past 40 years, Jhpiego has been committed to achieving impact at scale. An example of such impact was its work in transforming Afghanistan’s maternal and newborn health landscape—leading to remarkable improvements in maternal and newborn mortality rates.
In 2006, in response to the world’s second highest national maternal mortality ratio of over 1,800 deaths per 100,000 live births, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health asked Jhpiego to work collaboratively on interventions to reduce maternal deaths. Jhpiego jointly devised an ambitious plan, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, to establish a national system to continually prepare qualified midwives who would work in their communities, especially in remote areas of the country, and remain where they are needed most.
Jhpiego built the capacity of 30 midwifery schools, active in 25 of 34 provinces, which educated more than 3,000 midwives in Afghanistan—a dramatic increase from just 467 midwives in 2002—and catalyzed the formation of the Afghan Midwives Association. This association, the first of its kind in the country, promotes the constant improvement of midwifery and the quality standing of the profession in Afghanistan—today and into the future.
By supporting the Afghan Midwives Association and spearheading the development of a national midwifery education system, Jhpiego laid the foundation to address chronic shortages in qualified community midwives for the long term. Of note, the Minister of Public Health cited Jhpiego and the community midwifery program in March 2012 as primary contributors to a more than 50 percent reduction in maternal mortality.