Fighting against maternal and neonatal mortality

Boosting the training of midwives in Francophone African countries

Améliorer l’accès et le maintien des soins de proximité en Ile de France pour les femmes enceintes et leurs nouveau-nés en situation de précarité

ICM team with Ivory Coast Midwives Association members and UN Women staff

Project Location Three pilot countries: Comoros, Madagascar and Côte d’Ivoire - Long-term, in 22 countries in Francophone Africa
Nom de l’association
International Confederation of Midwives


Issue/local context

The 2014 Report on the State of Midwifery Practice in the World: towards universality (ICM, UNFPA, WHO) discloses a highly insufficient number of midwives in 73 countries where midwifery services are needed most. The report urges these countries to invest in educating and training midwives to fill the critical gaps in this field, and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.

In some countries, obstetric services are inadequate, inaccessible to local people, or fail to meet acceptable quality levels; they depend on the performance of the health system, knowledge, skills, motivation and the amount of staff capable of providing care to women and their children in terms of a continuum of care.

Women's access to these services is one of the indicators of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 global health agenda.


  • 50% of pregnant women worldwide have access to qualified medical staff for childbirth
  • 87% of essential care for mothers and their newborns can be delivered by midwives
  • 2/3 des décès maternels et néonatals peuvent être réduits (UNFPA, WHO, 2014)
  • Investing in training midwives could the return on investment in terms of lives saved and avoiding caesarean section costs (Report on the State of Midwifery Practice in the World 2014)

Program description

The project supported by the Sanofi Espoir Foundation focuses on improving the training of midwives in three pilot countries: Comoros, Madagascar and Côte d’Ivoire.

Training programs in these countries will be resized, adding improvements to training staff, preparing trainers to methods focused on skills, reviewing the curriculum, and preparing tutors for areas of clinical practice.

The longer-term goal will be to create training centers for midwifery trainers (PhD level) and to promote academic research on the midwifery profession.

Project objectives

  1. Improve training programs for midwives in three Francophone African countries
  2. Develop a certification and approval system for training programs (co-financed by the Bill Gates Foundation)
  3. Improve and harmonize the training of midwives in the region based on the ICM’s global standards, skills and tools.
  4. Establish a knowledge repository within the ICM, accessible to all country policymakers whether members or not
  5. Monitoring and evaluation: develop tools, carry out monitoring visits, and hold annual review meetings

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