Improving the Quality of Maternal and Newborn Healthcare

Meryl Ligunas · January 4, 2024

Module Type:

This was a Case Study Learning session held on 16 August 2023.

About this module:

In the last ten to fifteen years, India has seen a significant shift from home births to hospital births. The quality of healthcare in private facilities, which are used for over 25 percent of all institutional deliveries by women of all socio-economic backgrounds in Rajasthan, varies widely and its improvement plays a key role in decreased maternal and newborn mortality. 

Analyze an outcomes-based financing approach to this problem and think of new solutions by joining Improving the Quality of Maternal and Newborn Health Care. This is the second of three Case Study Learning sessions supported by UBS Optimus Foundation where you can deepen your understanding of complex social and environmental problems to come up with innovative social finance solutions alongside peers, and under the guidance of experts and practitioners.

About the Experts:

Ellen Smith is Palladium’s Utkrisht Director. She has 15 years of experience across many countries in program management, health financing, equity, data analytics, metrics, and modeling for strategic planning and policy audiences. She has worked on a wide range of health topics such as reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, infectious zoonotic diseases, as well as on environmental and educational topics. Ellen holds an MA in Demography from the University of California Berkeley and a BA in Anthropology, Economics, and International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in New York City.

Marissa Leffler joined UBS in 2018 to lead the health portfolio for the UBS Optimus Foundation. The Foundation has a global network and focuses on programs with the potential to be transformative, scalable and sustainable in the areas of child health, education and protection. In her role, Marissa rigorously selects and actively supports programs run by innovative entrepreneurs that use new approaches and technologies to solve problems that prevent children from surviving and thriving. Prior to UBS, Marissa spent over 10 years at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where she most recently served as the Innovation Team Leader in the Global Health Center for Innovation and Impact, a center of excellence established to accelerate the development, introduction, and scale up of priority global health interventions. In the Center, Marissa lead the Grand Challenge portfolios of innovations, including the design, launch, and execution of three Grand Challenges to source innovations to address the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the Zika outbreak in Latin America, and barriers to more effective health supply chains.

About Instructor

AVPN Faculty

AVPN Faculty consists of sector experts and other key stakeholders.

Not Enrolled

Module Includes

  • 1 Lesson

Inclusive Business

Companies may choose to adopt an inclusive business model or approach that provides goods, services, and livelihoods on a commercially viable basis to people living at the base of the pyramid (BoP). Depending on the nature and size of the organisation, companies can do this by directly incorporating the BoP in their core value chain, or by piloting inclusive business initiatives through their corporate impact efforts.

Adapted from: Inclusive Business Action Network (IBAN)


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By CSR Asia

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This paper by CSR Asia outlines how inclusive business (IB) strategies can create shared value and walks through practical steps companies can take to develop an effective IB strategy. It makes a case for inclusive business and demonstrates how companies can leverage aspects of their value chain to create opportunities for low-income communities. You will also find a number of case studies from around the Asia region.

Corporate Foundation

Corporate foundations (or company-sponsored foundations) are philanthropic organisations that are created and financially supported by a corporation. The foundation is created as a separate legal entity from the corporation, but with close ties to the corporation. Corporate foundations tend to make grants in fields related to their corporate activities or in communities where the corporation operates, or where their employees reside.

Source: Council of Foundations

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Corporate Social Impact Accelerator

Companies may establish Social Impact Accelerators to help enterprises looking to address a social problem over an extended period of time with a mix of financial and non-financial support, including seed funding, mentorship, training, networking and working space.

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Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is any formally organised support or encouragement from companies to leverage employee time, knowledge, skills or other resources to support impact organisations. Employee engagement can vary from corporate volunteering (hands-on or skill-based, virtual or on-site volunteering) and/or corporate giving (payroll giving, employee matching) to co-investment programmes.

Source: EVPA, 2018

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Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to strategies that companies put into action as part of corporate governance that are designed to ensure the company’s operations are ethical and beneficial for society. These may include initiatives to support the environment, fair labour practices, philanthropy and/or sustainable business practices.

Adapted from: Corporate Finance Institute (CFI)

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Corporate Impact Fund

Corporate impact funds enable companies to make investments that are aligned with and amplified by their strategic priorities, market position and resources in order to generation measurable and mutually reinforcing social, environmental and financial returns and outcomes.

Adapted from: Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), 2021

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