Midwives for Life

Partnership objectives

The reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality in developing countries

Upskilling midwives and improving their work organization Upskilling midwives and improving their work organization Copyright Sanofi

What are the health needs and challenges?

Midwives are lacking in many countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, where there are only 42% of the world’s 300,000 skilled birth attendants to deliver 78% of global births. It is estimated that there is a need for twice the number as each year 300,000 women die during pregnancy, childbirth or the puerperium together with three million newborns. Most of these deaths would be preventable if these often poor and isolated women had access to services close to their homes, provided by better-trained and better equipped midwives. Admittedly, since the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the global rate of maternal mortality has fallen by 44% in 25 years. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of deaths of children under five has fallen for the first time below six million (from 12.7 million per year in 1990 down to 5.9 million in 2015). But neonatal mortality has not decreased: the fourth and fifth goals of the MDGs are far from having been achieved, and progress is very uneven.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges 

To fight more effectively against maternal and neonatal mortality, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation has chosen to support 9 programs that aim to deliver better access to care for every mother and newborn child, through the Midwives For Life initiative. These programs are geared to increasing the number and skills of midwives by improving their training, promoting the vital role they play in everyday life, and helping them work in areas where needs are greatest, particularly rural areas. The programs boost networking between midwives and other health and community workers at town or regional level, and ensure that these partners all share resources and expertise to deliver the best possible aid for mothers and their babies.

Each program is based on a strong community spirit to boost education and prevention among families.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Since 2010:
16 projects supported
530.000 pregnant women cared for
2,100 midwives trained 

Measurement of progress towards objectives: 

  • Estimated overall value of partnership: €m11.2 since 2010
  • Estimated amount of people impacted: almost 600 000 since 2010


Former program in Benin

Midwives for Life

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), CAM-TAMA, CASA Professional Midwifery School, International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Première Urgence Internationale, Santé Sud, Women and Health Alliance International

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, NGOs

Therapeutic Focus Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Children's Health, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Financial Support, Availability of Treatment - Patient Safety & Medicines Quality, Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Manufacturing and Entrepreneurial Know-How, Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Scientific Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing, Health System Infrastructure - mHealth, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 11

Country(ies) Algeria, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Senegal, Tanzania

Start Date 2010

More information Sanofi Espoir

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« “I'm 27 and I came here for the postnatal monitoring of my fifth child. The natural birth went well. Thanks to the obstetrical care scheme, I had my four prenatal visits, pregnancy tests and an ultrasound, and the maternity staff gave me medicines for fre »

Meriam, a patient at the Sebkha maternity center (Mauritania)