Fran McConville has been the Midwifery Adviser at the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2013 and is based at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fran’s focus is on addressing how women, newborns and their families can access quality, equitable and dignified midwifery care that strengthens women’s own capabilities, prevents unnecessary interventions and ensures timely referral to emergency obstetric and newborn care if needed. Fran’s work aims to support the 194 WHO Member States to improve evidence–based quality midwifery care for all women, newborns and their families everywhere. This includes working with global partners to support research, advocacy, capacity building and ensuring the voice midwifery leaders. Prior to WHO, Fran was a Health Adviser to the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). This included leading on maternal and newborn policy at DFID HQ, as well as being the DFID Health Adviser in Bangladesh, as well as Somalia (based in Kenya). This built on three decades of development and humanitarian experience in sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health with UNICEF, IFRC, and a range of NGOs through living and working in Bangladesh India, Burma, Malawi, Kenya, Somalia and Iraq. Fran initially gained development experience as a VSO midwife in Bangladesh, and then through field work in Africa, Asia and the Middle East while being a lecturer in maternal and newborn health/ gender and reproductive health, at the University of Wales, Swansea. Fran is a midwife, a nurse, has an MA (Health Economics and Social Policy), and a BSc (Life Sciences). In 2020 Fran was awarded the title Honorary Professor of Practice at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
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