Event Takeaways | 2016 Best in Business Action: Women & Girls

Nisa PatelArticle

Friday, June 24 2016
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM EDT

In Lucknow, India, Dr. Singh and her staff are now better able to meet the needs of their patients after having received quality of care trainings and tailored plans to improve their private health service. “Our mindset about motherhood has completely changed,” she says. “If we can assist in the miraculous experience of giving life by providing quality care, what is better than that?”

In Tanzania, after her prolonged obstructed labor, Christine suffered from obstetric fistula in isolation from her family and community, subjected to extreme stigma and poverty for over three decades. She was cured last fall. These are just a few stories of the impact that the 2016 GBCHealth Award winners – Johnson & Johnson, BASF, MSD and Phillips – have in the communities where they do business.

On June 24, the winning and commended programs of the 2016 Women & Girls Business Action on Health Awards presented their initiatives to improve the lives of women and girls to the GBCHealth network of companies and partners all over the world.

The speakers included:

  • Kimberlin Keller, Senior Manager, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson (program: Private-Sector Pioneer in Fostering Innovative Partnerships to Prevent and Treat Obstetric Fistula)
  • Andreas Blüethner, Director of Food-Fortification & Partnerships, BASF (program: Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women Program).
  • Scott Higgins, Director, MSD for Mothers, MSD (program: MSD for Mothers), and
  • Ankur Kaul, Product & Marketing Manager, Hospital to Home for Emerging Markets Business, Philips (program: Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring)

Detailed Overview:

For over 20 years, Johnson & Johnson, has supported programs to prevent and treat obstetric fistula–a debilitating injury of childbirth caused by prolonged, obstructed labor and lack of access to essential, quality healthcare services– through the Private-Sector Pioneer in Fostering Innovative Partnerships to Prevent and Treat Obstetric Fistula Program. Kimberlin Keller, Senior Manager of Corporate Contributions at Johnson & Johnson, provided an emotional perspective on the effect such life-altering interventions have on the women they serve. Just one look at the faces of Christine–cured of her fistula just last fall after suffering over three decades–and Fanjakely–cured at 18, after 3 years of living with a fistula–speaks to the power of this program.

In addition to increasing women’s access to trained healthcare providers and comprehensive obstetric care, which includes safe surgery, the Obstetric Fistula Program supports rehabilitation networks and entrepreneurial opportunities. The company’s holistic approach to fistula prevention, treatment and care enables women to regain their self-confidence and become economically, emotionally and mentally empowered. Using a community approach in their maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health programming, Johnson & Johnson understands the growing need and impact of improving access to quality healthcare products and services along the continuum of care.

Andreas Blüethner, Director of Food-Fortification & Partnership at BASF, showcased how the collective power of public-private partnerships can drive local policy change and technical knowledge-sharing to provide affordable, fortified foods to girls and women of reproductive age (15 – 44 years of age) at risk of nutrient deficiencies. Working with local mills and manufacturers, the Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) Program has reached over 2 million women in Kenya and Tanzania through facilitated educational dialogues between stakeholders, such as local women groups and church organizations, and employing local food millers in micronutrient deficient areas.

Under the BASF’s Food Fortification Initiative, the program offers the technical implementation assistance necessary for local production and distribution of Vitamin A  fortified food and oils. Local governments support the program by providing distribution channels, while the GIZ creates demand through community education networks. The project wholeheartedly embraces a value-chain approach.

Determined to scale-up high-impact, high-need interventions that improve maternal health, MSD for Mothers focuses its investments on eliminating the estimated 90 percent of maternal deaths that could be prevented by improving the quality of care women receive at the time of childbirth and expanding access to high-quality modern contraceptives. Scott Higgins, Director of MSD for Mothers at MSD, shared the 10 year, $500 million program that aims to tackle high infant and maternal mortality by enabling private health providers to offer a higher quality of care, developing and delivering life-saving products, and empowering women to make informed family planning decisions.. Focusing on five high-priority countries, the initiative has reduced modern contraceptive stockouts from 80 percent to less than 2 percent in Senegal, driven the development of an accreditation process for  private maternity hospitals in India and is scaling up inclusion of evidence-based postpartum care within emergency health protocols in the United States.

Ankur Kaul, Product & Marketing Manager of Hospital to Home for Emerging Markets Business at Philips,  explained how their Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring (MOM) program uses modern technology through a mobile software platform to enable health workers in community care settings to deliver improved antenatal care to mothers in the most remote areas. Although the pilot faced challenges of poor infrastructure, high patient volumes and resistance to new technology, the year-long pilot in Padang, Indonesia reduced maternal deaths to zero, achieved a 99 percent reduction in antenatal anemia and generated a threefold increase in the detection of high-risk pregnancies (from 5 percent to 17 percent). Moving forward, the program aims to expand their services to include antenatal and postnatal care modules, provide analytics for local population health management and introduce pilots in Myanmar, India and a number of African nations.

Access the presentation.

Nisa PatelEvent Takeaways | 2016 Best in Business Action: Women & Girls