Iranian Midwives Build Momentum for Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV Integration
An advocacy case study from Iran: Leveraging existing members of Iran’s Scientific Association of Midwifery to integrate sexual reproductive health and HIV.
Midwives in Iran have been showcased in a new report from IPPF South Asia and the European Union. The report, Documenting Best Practices: Advocacy on Integrating SRH HIV, captures the practice and achievements of groups working to build linkages between sexual reproductive health and HIV in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
In Iran, midwives are the main health staff to provide services to women of reproductive age. Across the country, around 36,000 midwives are front line workers and many belong to the Iran Scientific Association of Midwifery (ISAM).
As part of the Momentum Project, ISAM has worked with the Family Health Association of Iran (FHA), a member association of IPPF, to develop integration messages and promote linkages between SRH and HIV services. FHA Iran selected the association as a small grantee to advocate on the issue of SRH HIV integration. Advocacy messages were presented through meetings, workshops, and training to enhance visibility of the advocacy efforts and build strategic partnerships.
The socio-political context of Iran prompted FHA Iran to leverage on the existing health care system in order to build advocacy actions on integration. Twenty five midwives from ISAM were identified to receive training on integrated sexual reproductive health and HIV issues, with a focus on increasing understanding of integration and its importance for women. They also received training in how to integrate SRH and HIV in their day to day work, and how this approach can help them to provide services to women living with HIV without stigma and discrimination.
The successful strategy built the capacity of midwives to deliver integrated SRH HIV services and recognised the importance of preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, helping to make quality maternal and child health services more accessible to people living with HIV. It also featured youth awareness programs and highlighted access as an important part of an integrated approach.
Ultimately, the partnership between FHA IRAN and ISAM enhanced the capacity of midwives to provide integrated services to their clientele, by leveraging existing health infrastructure and systems. Read more about their work, and other studies of advocacy success, in the Momentum for Integration free research library.