Partner Since 2019
Astellas Global Health Foundation (Foundation), a nonprofit corporation and philanthropic arm of Astellas Pharma US, joined UNICEF USA’s Mothers and Babies in Good Care Initiative in 2019. Astellas provided a $700,000 grant that year to support the initiative's efforts to improve the quality of public health services for mothers and newborns in the Dominican Republic.
The program has been implemented in 10 hospitals and community health centers, where 70 percent of the country's maternal and neonatal deaths occur. Program interventions are centered on strengthening essential maternal and newborn services, such as breastfeeding support; establishing quality committees to review hospital improvements; and implementating kangaroo care, a practice that promotes skin-to-skin contact between parents and babies. Partnership efforts have already reached an estimated 45,000 mothers and babies.
Ensuring continuity of maternal and newborn health services during COVID-19
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, redirected funding from the Foundation’s grant helped UNICEF ensure the continuity of maternal and newborn services in the Dominican Republic during a very challenging time. The funds also supported distribution of personal protection equipment to health workers and UNICEF's work with the Ministry of Health and the National Health Service to develop guidelines for health care and support service delivery in the COVID-19 context. Mothers received counseling at the community level through UNICEF brochures on virus prevention.
Top photo: A mother in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, practices kangaroo care, a best practice promoted by UNICEF maternal and neonatal health programs supported by the Astellas Global Health Foundation. © UNICEF/UN0505261/Guerra