Delivering Healthier Futures for Women, Children and Adolescents: What is the role of business?

Join us for this live written discussion with a panel of experts to explore the role of business in improving maternal, child and adolescent health.


LIVE Panel

Thursday 5 October, 10am to 11pm EDT / 3pm to 4 pm BST


Efforts to secure a healthier future for the world’s most vulnerable women, children and adolescents are falling behind: over 60 countries are off-track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals’ targets for maternal, newborn and stillborn mortality reduction by 2030, and over 4.5 million mothers and babies die each year from preventable conditions during pregnancy, birth or in the few weeks of life.

Investing in the health and rights of women, children and adolescents is not just a moral imperative, but a smart economic choice that promotes gender equality, spurs economic growth, and nurtures prosperous societies. But what is the role of business in this area?

Join this discussion to explore how businesses can leverage innovation, partnership, advocacy and creative models of finance to help improve the health of women, children and adolescents.

This online discussion is part of our collaboration with the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF), in support of GFF’s #DeliverTheFuture campaign. The campaign aims to raise at least $800m USD for the GFF in 2023. GFF’s country-led model of financing accelerates health care investments and enables women, children, and adolescents to survive and thrive.


Moderator: Annabel Beales, Business Fights Poverty


  1. What are some good examples of innovation to improve maternal, child and adolescent health?
  2. What are the challenges and opportunities for business to partner with other sectors in support of governments’ efforts to strengthen health systems for women, children and adolescents?
  3. How can we increase investment in maternal, child and adolescent health? For example, through advocacy and creative financing models.


This is a text-based discussion which remains open, so please do continue to share your insights.

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We are looking forward to this online discussion. I’m Annabel Beales, Collaboration Lead at Business Fights Poverty, and will be your moderator.

The live discussion will start at 3pm BST / 10am EDT on Thursday 5 October.

In the meantime, please introduce yourselves by replying to this comment.

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Hi Annabel, really looking forward to this session.


Hello everyone, nice to meet you all. My name is Sabina Hyseni, representing UNICEF from our Global Multistakeholder Partnerships and Advocacy team leading on Health Advocacy with Business.

You can connect with me on LinkedIn here and it’s a pleasure to meet you all.

A little bit of background:

  • I’ve been working within UNICEF’s partnerships division for the last seven years, focusing on several aspects of private stakeholder engagement, child rights and ESG.
  • Currently based in Geneva and leading on our advocacy with business on health and partnering with industry to ensure equitable access to healthcare for every child.
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My name is Natacha MUGENI and I am the digital health Director at YLabs.
Looking forward to the discussion.


Hi - really looking forward to an engaging conversation today!


Dear all, my name is Camilla De Nardi, representing the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) as Private Sector Partners Advisor. I am pleased to be here today.


Q1. What are some good examples of innovation to improve maternal, child and adolescent health?


By way of introductions, I’m the Managing Director of the Health Finance Coalition where we look to mobilize private capital for public health goals at the company, large structure, and country levels. By using a capital stack approach we try and introduce new mechanisms and structures to crowd in capital.


Hi everyone, looking forward to today’s discussion. My name is Brendan Hayes, and I’m a senior health specialist with the Global Financing Facility (GFF) based in Kampala, Uganda. I’ve been working with the GFF and the World Bank for the past six years. You can find me on LinkedIn here.


Hi, I am Lisa Felton. I am currently the Director of the Vodafone Foundation, which is dedicated to deploying connectivity and technology to deliver long term, sustainable benefits for vulnerable communities around the world. Really pleased to be here today to share best practice. My linked in details are here:Lisa Felton - please do reach out to connect.


Hi everyone! It’s nice to meet you, my name is Tania Lessenska-Teodosiev, Project Manager and Senior Analyst at endeva. We work on systems change and systems innovation, we do this co-creatively and facilitate impactful partnership with ecosystem players. You can follow us here for more information: Endeva | LinkedIn


HI all, Philip from Access to Nutrition, long time admirer, first time participator


Hi all, great to meet you! I’m Emily Carey, Senior Health Systems Adviser from the NHS Consortium for Global Health. The consortium acts as a single point of entry to expertise within the NHS ecosystem for peers in other countries to collaborate on shared health systems strengthening goals.

Connect with me here:


Innovations in self-care continue to improve access to adolescent and female health. Self-care products (such as self-injectibles) continue to help women and girls take greater control of their own health. They allow access to family planning in a more private and discrete manner.


Hi everyone,
Hope you all are doing great! Nice to e-meet you all. I am Aishwarya Choubey, working as a Senior Associate at GAIN. I co-lead workforce nutrition program in India.
Previously, I have worked with NITI Aayog- India’s policy think tank and Tata Trusts on maternal and child health.

We can connect and discuss more about the work we do at GAIN. Looking forward to having a fruitful discussion.


The number one health challenge identified by the UN SDGs is maternal deaths. Weak health systems and delayed access to healthcare are significant causes of maternal and new-born deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, with the lack of affordable transport for emergency referrals a significant driver of poor outcomes.

Vodafone Foundation and USAID have established the innovative solution called m-mama, which has reduced maternal mortality in the regions where it operates by as much as 38% and new-born deaths by over 40%. The system enables regional and district health systems to address all three of the main delays identified as causes of maternal mortality – seeking care; reaching care and obtaining appropriate care.

m-mama is an affordable emergency referral system that is connecting mothers and new-borns to vital life-saving healthcare in rural areas of both Tanzania, Lesotho and soon to be Kenya and Malawi, where funds have been committed. A huge obstacle for women in Sub-Saharan Africa is a lack of timely referrals and patient transport to get them to facilities that can provide quality care quickly in an emergency.

m-mama is a referral system specifically created for pregnancy, labour, or new-born emergencies. It provides a charge-free number and a 24/7 call centre, connecting women with fast and safe transportation to high-quality healthcare facilities. The system creates a network of local community drivers to function as ‘taxi ambulances,’ in areas where ambulances are rarely available. With detailed referral plans for every clinic and village, the system provides critical management of emergency transport and saves lives.

The outcome for women and babies in an emergency is a managed referral from first call to delivery at an appropriate health facility. The m-mama app, operating on a simple tablet, working either online or offline, enables the Dispatchers quickly to find an ambulance or driver and then to call ahead to ensure appropriate care is available at the intended destination, with standby plans should that facility not be appropriate at that time. The villages are GPS-mapped to help ensure the efficient direction of the volunteer drivers; sometimes patients may need to be stabilised at a clinic on the way to the hospital. The app also coordinates their payment via mobile money on completion of the trip.

m-mama ensures that all the preparation, identifying facilities, recruiting drivers and planning for locations and routes is done in advance and that homework is captured on the technology. A technology developed to be robust for use in rural facilities – whilst also providing vital management and outcomes data to local, regional and national health managers.

As part of the development of m-mama in Tanzania, the Tanzanian government created the first ever emergency transport phone line and national emergency system in Tanzania – 115.

Since 2014, nearly 42,000 women and newborns have been transported and nearly 3,000 lives saved.


Some of the best examples that I’m aware of are where governments and donors help create market conditions for the private sector to focus their capacity and business models in support of women and children. I’ll highlight three examples that come to mind:


I am Sam Gwer - team leader for Afya Research Africa. We run a network of 25 community co-owned primary health care centers (Ubuntu-Afya Kiosks) targeting rural communities. We also implement digital health information system straddling hospital and community health eco-systems; and support evidence synthesis and translation on issues of public health and clinical priorities.


Ruth Munyinyi- representing Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) where we convene the private sector and business to make commitments and investments around nutrition.