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  • Writer's pictureKay Sandberg

Funding Trends for Maternal Health and Human Rights/Birth Justice During Covid and Beyond

"A Partnership to Explore Funding Trends and Recommendations for Maternal Health and Birth Justice", Guest blog by Susannah Hurd, Vice President, Global Health Visions

Maternal health access and outcomes have been drastically impacted by COVID-19. Many pregnant women are unable to access essential services, including prenatal, postnatal, and birth care; there are reports of decreased quality of care as services and personnel are redirected to assist in the pandemic response as well as outright disrespect and abuse towards pregnant people, resulting from lockdowns and travel restrictions; and black, indigenous, and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

New Incubator helps Partner Grace Family Clinic (Uganda)

We are seeing a rise in maternal and newborn complications and deaths around the world, showcased through emerging research and media outlets (The Lancet, Health Policy Plus, Devex, etc.). With the health and rights of women and newborns dangling in the balance, ensuring that maternal health and birth justice programs are adequately funded amidst this crisis has never been more pressing.

In March of 2011, Global Health Visions (GHV) - a woman-owned and operated consulting business - in partnership with the Maternal Health Task Force, completed a thorough landscape analysis of U.S.-based maternal health donors. The findings sourced from this work informed the development of the Maternal Health U.S. Donor Landscape Analysis Report which examined and outlined specific gaps and opportunities in funding for maternal health.

It has been nine years since GHV completed the initial report. Given the urgent need for funding for maternal health and birth justice programs in light of the pandemic, the shifting landscape of donors and stakeholders working on maternal health and related issues, and the importance of the racial and birth justice movements in the United States, GHV, in partnership with the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC), is thrilled to be working alongside the Global Force for Healing to update the landscape analysis to fully reflect the current landscape of U.S. based funders. The updated landscape analysis will include a more robust focus on issues and funding for maternal rights, birth justice, grassroots movements and providers, and the intersections between the U.S. and global contexts.

This analysis and the subsequent findings will build upon the research from 2011 as well as the recent groundbreaking report, co-led by Global Force for Healing, Funding Equity: Birth Justice and Human Rights in Maternal and Infant Health. Given GHV’s commitment to translating evidence into action, we are proud to be able to draw upon our extensive background knowledge and understanding of the global health and development context, including maternal health, rights, and justice issues, in order to update the report, in partnership with the Global Force for Healing and NBEC.

This report will provide an overview of relevant funding streams and trends, and it will identify gaps, opportunities, and potential new funding sources and/or strategies for donor coordination and collaboration that may enhance funding for maternal health and birth justice in the global and U.S. contexts. The report aims to be a tool for donors, implementers, and advocates alike to work together to support women and newborns to realize their health and rights – during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We are aiming to publish the study around year-end, acknowledging it will be a snapshot of the time as challenges and opportunities continue to evolve. By Susannah Hurd

To contact Global Health Visions:

Postscript from Kay: Global Force for Healing is thrilled to be collaborating with these two organizations to understand and shift the funding landscape in favor of equity and in support of universal access to quality, culturally appropriate, affordable, and respectful care during the perinatal period and beyond. And we are proud to call Global Health Visions our Ally!

To contact National Birth Equity Collaborative:



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