Mutual accountability on women's and children's health goals essential to Millennium Development Goal success
This year, governments, foundations, businesses, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations and health care professional associations publicly pledged more than $ 40 billion* to improve maternal and child health and save million of lives.
How do you ensure that they will live up to these commitments?
One way is to bring all of the stakeholders together -- from government to civil society to academia to health professionals to the UN -- to develop concrete strategies for action on financing, policies and service delivery.
This is the goal of a "Pledges to Action" meeting to be held in New Delhi this weekend, 13-14 November, a global meeting of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), representing all of key stakeholder groups
PMNCH is an independent alliance of 350 partner-organizations based at the World Health Organization in Geneva. It brings together six different constituency groups from governments and civil society to foundations and academic institutions.
The Delhi meeting, hosted by the Government of India, follows closely from the launch of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN General Assembly in September.
This outreach has generated $40 billion in commitments towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals -- a landmark achievement for women and children's health.
* For list of commitments, please go to the Hoffman & Hoffman Worldwide website: http://www.hoffmanpr.com/world/PMNCH/Commitments/
PMNCH has been central in developing both the content of the Global Strategy and in mobilizing financial commitments. PMNCH members will now play a critical role in following up, including further development of commitments and encouraging accountability for those pledges made.
"These commitments have been a critical turning point in the fight to save millions of lives of women and children," says Flavia Bustreo, MD, Director of PMNCH.
"For the first time, we have had significant sums of money pledged to women's and children's health from a broad range of partners. It's a great sign of faith in the progress that countries are making towards achieving the MDGs. Now, the task for PMNCH is to spur a drive from these commitments to action. The first task is to support a common approach in the accountability process, so everyone is doing, looking at, and measuring the same things."
Countdown to 2015: key mechanism for tracking progress
One of the key mechanisms for tracking progress on women's and children's health is Countdown to 2015, a global movement of academics, governments, UN agencies, foundations, health care associations and nongovernmental organizations formed in 2005 to track progress and analyzes data from the 68 countries that account for more than 95 percent of maternal and child deaths.
Countdown to 2015 adds value by forging a clear, evidence-based consensus on priority interventions and coverage indicators, and by providing a mechanism for holding countries and their partners accountable for results.
The Countdown to 2015 Decade Report (2000-2010) was released in June, offering country-by-country indicators of progress in meeting women's and children's health goals. Countdown co-chair Zulfiqar Bhutta, MD, of Aga Khan University, Pakistan, will give a keynote address at the Delhi meeting highlighting the critical role of evidence-based advocacy in accelerating action for women's and children's health.
Many countries are on the way to meeting their goals, but a substantial number of countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, have made insufficient progress, according to 2010 Countdown report.
India, however, has made steady recent progress in advancing towards its MDG goals, aided in part by innovative policies that support poor women in seeking professional care during pregnancy and childbirth. As a result, newborn deaths have decreased and facility-based deliveries have risen substantially over the past five years.
Says India's Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad: "The Partners Forum meeting is both important and timely as we approach 2015 – the target year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This conference can provide further momentum in making more rapid progress towards the MDGs. Considering the tremendous contribution The Partnership is making towards maternal and child health, we look forward to closer engagements with it, this year and beyond."
Mobilizing action and accountability
A breakdown of the $40.3 billion pledged by stakeholders at the September launch of the Global Strategy shows that $17.3 billion came from upper and middle-income countries; $8.6 billion from the 49 lowest-income countries; $6 billion from non-government organizations and charities; $5 billion from the UN and other multilateral organizations; $2.3 billion from global philanthropic organizations; $1 billion from the business community; and $31 million from health care professional associations.
PMNCH's constituency groups have been instrumental in this process.
Civil society members of PMNCH, non-governmental organizations and other charitable groups, pledged more than $6 billion to the Global Strategy. This figure includes commitments to develop and evaluate innovative approaches to delivering health and social services for all; strengthen local capabilities to scale-up implementation of proven interventions; educate and engage communities; track progress and encourage stakeholder accountability; and advocate for increased attention to women's and children's health.
Ann Starrs, co-chair of PMNCH and president of Family Care International, was instrumental in facilitating these commitments on behalf of her community. Says Starrs: "NGOs helped shape the Global Strategy as it was being written, and we pledged more than 15 percent of the total announced in September. Moving forward we will play an equally central role in implementing the Global Strategy. The Partners' Forum in Delhi presents a critical opportunity to foster consensus and develop plans among global, regional and country partners for immediate action."
Several of PMNCH's constituency groups will hold meetings in Delhi in conjunction with the Partners' Forum. This will include health professional associations, convened by Dr. Andre Lalonde of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and Bridget Lynch, President of the International Confederation of Midwives.
Academic and training institution members of PMNCH, will be convened by Prof. Vinod Paul, MD, of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Jane Schaller, President of the International Pediatric Association.
Professor Paul, a world-renowned neonatologist, is a co-chair of PMNCH as well as Chair of the Pledges to Action programme committee. He will give the opening remarks at the meeting, which begins on Saturday 13 November.
2010 Global Campaign Report
Another highlight at the Partners' Forum will be the release of the 2010 Report of the Global Campaign for the Health MDGs by the Network of Global Leaders who are working to improve maternal and child health.
At the launch of The Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health at the UN in September, the world's 49 lowest-income countries accounted for more than one-third of the financial commitments pledged by governments. The Global Campaign Report focuses on translating commitments into action. This year's report features statements by a group of world leaders who explain how they plan to implement their commitments and their approach to holding themselves and others accountable for making progress. The report points out that accountability is essential to meeting the MDGs, for accountability "ensures that promises made become promises kept."
Effective accountability must involve all stakeholders—governments, donors, multilateral agencies, philanthropic institutions, NGOs, the private sector, and health care professionals—and should meet three principles, according to the report:
Accountability must be tied to measuring results, especially outcomes and impact.
Because accountability requires national leadership and ownership, MNCH accountability should be tied to national health strategies and national monitoring and evaluation efforts.
Existing country- and global-level accountability mechanisms and processes should be built on, enhanced, and strengthened.
The 2010 Global Campaign Reports emphasizes the need for accurate reporting of births and deaths, which currently does not exist in many low and middle-income countries. Accurate statistics on births, deaths, and causes of deaths are needed to provide evidence for any improvements in health and to measure progress toward meeting the MDGs.
Innovation in information technology, including deeper penetration of broadband access, provides new opportunities to improve civil registration systems in countries through on-line health records and public health information. The challenge will continue to be to ensure that such efforts are driven by need rather than technology alone.
Dr. Richard Sezibera, Minister of Health of Rwanda, will be attending the Delhi meeting to participate in a special working lunch of health ministers, and to represent the Accountability Working Group of the Global Strategy, which Rwanda co-chairs with the Government of Canada and the World Health Organization.
Rwanda is a global leader in the use of mobile technology for strengthening health systems, implementing a real-time alert SMS system for tracking the maternal and neonatal life cycles. Critical points are documented, and sent electronically to a central database, with an auto-response alert of each critical event sent to the nearest health centre. Maternal deaths, for instance, trigger alerts in the system that then automatically prompt the supervising health facility to initiate a maternal death audit.
Says Dr Sezibera: "These innovative community health-care systems ensure that an ever-increasing number of people will have access to affordable health services."
Forging a working partnership
Another Partnership Forum goal is to reaffirm the principles of partnership so that all partners recognize the need to engage, so that the "Global Strategy" becomes a true partnership of all members, and not solely a United Nations process.
"We need to harmonize our efforts to support countries in making progress on maternal and child health, while seeking to reduce the burden they currently face in reporting to donors on multiple indicators in multiple formats," says PMNCH Chair Julio Frenk, MD, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. "This is a multi-stakeholder process and we need to ensure mutual accountability."
The Global Strategy tasks the World Health Organization with convening a process with partners to identify the most effective way forward in global reporting, oversight, and accountability on women's and children's health.
Immediate next steps will be to develop a high-level process to address all aspects of accountability for the health of women and children. Recommendations arising from this process will be brought to the attention of ministers of health during the World Health Assembly in May 2011, with final recommendations and action points provided to the G8 Summit in June 2011 and the UN General Assembly meeting in September 2011.
Upholding goals of the Global Strategy
Among those topics to be addressed at the Partners Forum will be how best to monitor the ambitious health goals set out in the Global Strategy to be achieved in 2015 alone:
Number of new users of family planning. The goal is 43 million new users;
Number of new mothers supported by a skilled birth attendant. The goal is 19 million more women;
Number of additional treatments for neonatal infections. The goal is 2.2 million more treatments;
Number of newborns exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. The goal is 21.9 million more infants.
Number of children under 5 who receive vitamin A supplements. The goal is 117 million more children;
Number of children protected from pneumonia. The goal is 40 million more children;
Number of new health facilities, including heath centers, and district and regional hospitals. The goal is 85,000 additional health facilities;
Number of additional health workers. The goal is between 2.5 and 3.5 million new workers, including nurses, midwives, physicians, technicians, community health workers, and administrative staff.
In addition to tracking health indicators and outcomes, it also important to monitor key inputs to this process, such as financial investments, supportive policies and laws, and health system service delivery, which enable such outcomes to be achieved.
An impressive gathering of partners
More than 700 partners from 35 countries have registered for the conference, where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will deliver a welcome message.
Other featured speakers include Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India; Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Bience Gawanas, Social Affairs Commissioner of the African Union; Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, Minister of Health of Mexico; and Purnima Mane, Deputy Executive Director at UNFPA, speaking on behalf of the four agencies that make up the "Health 4, or H4", i.e., WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank.
PMNCH Director Flavia Bustreo will introduce the Global Strategy and Julio Frenk, Chair of PMNCH, will offer next steps to be taken toward meeting the goals.
The Partners Forum follows closely the mHealth Summit in Washington, DC, where the use of mobile technologies, even basic cell phones, to help meet the MDGs is being considered. A pre-Forum session will also explore how mobile technology can help advance women and children's health.
In addition, an "Innovation Showcase" at the Forum will demonstrate recent innovations from many parts of the world that have potential to improve women's and children's health.
The 15 featured innovations include: an SMS Sex Education program from Indonesia; pocket-sized mobile ultrasound scanners; an inexpensive incubator for premature and/or low birth-weight babies that works without electricity; and the Life Straw, which removes 99.9 percent of waterborne bacteria and 98.7 percent of waterborne viruses and is powered only by suction.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg launched the Global Campaign for the Health MDGs in 2007 with the specific goal of increasing and sustaining the financial and political commitments made for the health MDGs. The Network of Global Leaders, including the Presidents of Mozambique, Tanzania, Brazil, Liberia, Senegal, Indonesia, Prime Minister Stoltenberg and Graça Machel, Founder and President of the Foundation for Community Development in Mozambique, guides the campaign, providing political support and advocacy for the health MDGs.
Because the leaders consider 2010 a turning point for improving maternal and child health, the 2010 Global Campaign Report focuses on commitments made and the need for accountability. For the report, a group of leaders state how their countries or organizations will honor their commitments and hold themselves accountable for progress.
In addition to the financial pledges, the report also highlights other types of commitments, including:
Intel, by working with local governments, NGOs and telecom providers, is offering internet access to Bangladeshi women in remote villages;
The UK is creating an Independent Commission for Aid Impact to monitor the use of its aid resources and will publish information online;
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments of he UK, Australia and US have formed an alliance to support the efforts of high-need countries to reduce unintended pregnancies, maternal and newborn mortality.
Looking forward, the report lays out a 2011 roadmap of regional and global events that offer opportunities to focus world attention on the health of women and children and support efforts for all countries to meet the health MDGs, culminating with the September UN General Assembly where the recommendations and action points of the WHO-convened high-level process for accountability will be presented.
Here are Statements on Maternal and Child Health by World Leaders
(Taken from 2010 report for the Global Campaign for the Health MDGs – Putting the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health into Action)
Every woman, whether she lives in a wealthy urban centre or remote village, should have access to the basic health services she needs; and that every child has the right to a healthy future. This is a matter of fundamental equity.
The Global Strategy is truly comprehensive: it addresses the full range of issues that affect the health of women and children; it brings all the key actors together under one umbrella; and it integrates what they are doing -- their objectives and programs -- into one coherent approach.
The development of a robust and accessible accountability framework will allow all partners to track progress and ensure that promises are kept.
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, “We welcome the renewed stewardship of the UN and the World Bank at this crucial time to capture new developments and commitments.
The private sector can make enormous contributions in developing countries – in terms of innovation, risk taking, capital investment, increasing access to products and services, scaling up innovation, and driving improvement in the quality of services, and also provide new tools for improving the health of women and children.
We urge the UN, the World Bank, academia, health-care professionals associations and civil society to work together to increase national data-collection capacity, shorten collection intervals and facilitate more rapid analysis of data nationally and internationally to allow timely feedback on results and to accelerate progress at all levels.
We all need to do more, and we will do what we can to support [the Secretary-General] in this noble effort to ensure that the Global Strategy will deliver on its promise to improve women's and children's health around the world.”
Network of Global Leaders
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been asked by the G8 and by the UN Secretary-General to lead new work to strengthen accountability for women's and children's health.
Many of the building blocks for improving accountability exist – what is needed is an effort to bring them together. We are therefore committed to work with countries and their partners to build consensus on the way forward and to develop political and technical solutions that will make greater accountability possible.
We are establishing a high-level process to address all aspects of accountability for the health of women and children.
Final recommendations and action points will be provided to the G8 Summit and to the UN General Assembly later in the year.
Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization, “It is unacceptable that women and children are excluded from the benefits of progress, just because they are vulnerable.
Securing a healthy future for mothers and children is, therefore, a diplomatic objective of critical importance, and is also a valuable investment.
I launched Japan's new global health policy, with MNCH as one of its main pillars. Under this policy, Japan will provide assistance to the health sector totaling US$5 billion from 2011 to 2015. It will also make the utmost effort, in cooperation with other countries, to save the lives of 11.3 million children and 680 000 mothers.
We proposed a model called EMBRACE (Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care) to ensure the continuum of care from pre-pregnancy to after childbirth.
I strongly hope that the governments of developing countries will adopt the EMBRACE model to reduce maternal and child deaths, and that donors and international organizations will pool their efforts to provide support.”
Naoto Kan, Prime Minister, Japan, “In 2007, we introduced an air-ticket solidarity levy with the aim of expanding the efforts to eradicate global poverty and disease.
As a new donor to the GAVI Alliance starting this year, we will further accelerate our efforts to reduce child mortality by tackling the leading causes of child death, such as pneumonia and diarrhea.
As this year's G20 Chair, Korea has made efforts to accord development issues a central place on the G20 agenda. Much work has been done to elaborate a development agenda and to prepare multi-year action plans on development.
Lee Myung-bak, President, The Republic of Korea, “At the Muskoka 2010 G8 Summit, Canada and our partners launched the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH). The Muskoka Initiative was adopted to address the needs of vulnerable women and children in developing countries, and reflects the collective efforts of a broad coalition of G8 countries, other donors and philanthropic organizations committed to progress on maternal, newborn and child health.”
The Muskoka Initiative will help developing countries strengthen their health systems and enable the delivery of key interventions along the continuum of care from pre-pregnancy to childhood.
We will also meet, track and publicly report on our financial commitments through an accountability report.
Partners have pledged new and additional financing, while making accountability for these commitments a cornerstone of their approach.
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister , Canada, “The United States welcomes the Secretary General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health and its vision of a coordinated global effort that focuses on the women and girls whose health has the biggest impact on families and communities.
The United States has elevated development—and with it global health—alongside diplomacy and defense as pillars of U.S. foreign policy and recognized development as a strategic, moral and economic imperative. Our new approach charts a course for investments in transformative and sustainable development outcomes through relationships with partner countries built on mutual accountability.
We will continue and expand our work with partners in and outside of government—with members of civil society, private sector partners, faith leaders, and multilaterals—to develop and support scalable and sustainable solutions.
The United States is increasing funding for applied research, expanding access to effective technologies and practices, building learning partnerships, stimulating innovation in partner countries, and expanding global access to knowledge.
United States of America
On our part, we remain committed to getting the most out of every dollar invested to improve the health of Ethiopian women and children, and ensure the future development of our country.
Under-fives mortality has decreased from 204 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 101 per 1000 in 2008. A combination of interventions has reduced maternal mortality from 1068 in 1990 to 470 in 2008. We are beginning to see the positive economic effects of a healthier population. However, much more needs to be done.
We are building a "women-centered" health system, which empowers women to look after their own health and that of their families. To this end, we have launched a national mechanism that links leaders at national, regional and district levels with women's groups in every village.
We are also upgrading health centers to deliver basic and emergency maternal services, and training more midwives.
The Government is gaining real traction from its approach to health-system strengthening and service delivery, and its drive towards universal access to primary health care.
On our part, we remain committed to getting the most out of every dollar invested to improve the health of Ethiopian women and children, and ensure the future development of our country.
Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister, The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, The UK was proud to announce that we are re-orienting our aid program to put women at the heart of UK development efforts. Building from our contribution to the G8 Muskoka Initiative, our commitment is to save the lives of at least 50 000 women in pregnancy and childbirth and a quarter of a million newborn babies and to enable 10 million couples to access modern methods of family planning over the next five years.”
Our commitment to development imposes on us a double duty to ensure maximum results on the ground and to ensure full accountability, both to our own taxpayers and to the world's poor.
I am determined that we use the launch of the Global Strategy on 22 September 2010 as a springboard for an even stronger joined-up international approach.
David Cameron, Prime Minister, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, “To my mind there is no doubt that we have to improve the effectiveness of development policy instruments. It is vital that they are oriented towards concrete results –based on the MDG indicators. How much money do people have to live on? How much do they have to eat? Do their children go to school? What is the situation regarding health care?
Results-based financing is a new concept currently being tested in some countries. Indeed, Germany is supporting a pilot project together with the governments of Norway and Malawi.
Human rights are non-negotiable, because without them sustainable development is impossible. ...there are two important starting points for strengthening results orientation in development cooperation - Firstly, development funding should be linked to the results obtained. Secondly, national ownership needs to be strengthened by creating more space for national stewardship.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany, “With only five more years to meet the MDGs we must intensify our efforts and find innovative breakthroughs.
Indonesia's Government has taken every measure to ensure success. Chief among these is its national roadmap, which includes a comprehensive analysis of the country's efforts, as well as policies and strategies for addressing unresolved challenges – particularly those concerning the health of women and children.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President, Indonesia, “Nepal is one of the few developing countries on track to achieve MDGs 4 and 5. Between 1990 and 2006 Nepal's maternal mortality ratio declined by an impressive 67%, from 850 to 281 per 100 000 live births. During the same period, under-five mortality rate declined by 62%, from 162 to 61 deaths per 1000 live births.”
Some of the keys to Nepal's success against MDGs 4 and 5 have been:
Over 50 000 highly motivated Female Community Health Volunteers, providing health education and motivating parents to use life-saving health services
Payment of transport costs for pregnant women to deliver at health facilities, and cash incentives to skilled birth attendants for deliveries at home and in health facilities
Free delivery care, and incentives for women who take a complete package of antenatal, delivery and postnatal care
Provision of free medical checks and essential medicines in local health institutions
Increased availability of family planning, and provision of safe abortion services
Sustained increases in government budget and donor support for primary health care.
Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister
The Government of Rwanda is committed to improving child and maternal health as an integral part of its health-care system and poverty-eradication program.
Between 2000 and 2008 child mortality in Rwanda declined by 48% – from 196 to 103 deaths per 1,000 live births. By 2015 we aim to further reduce under-five mortality by 75%. The maternal mortality in Rwanda has steadily gone down by 63%, from 1,071 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 383 in 2008 – and we still consider it unacceptably high.
These improvements in maternal and child health have coincided with a series of reforms in the Rwandan health system including performance based contracting between the national and local governments, and in facilities, health insurance, maternal audits and the use of mobile technology.
We have implemented a real-time alert system for improving maternal and child health in Rwanda using the Rapid SMS model.
Our major strategy to improve maternal health is to increase access to necessary services.
H.E. Paul Kagame, President, Republic of Rwanda, “France confirms its focus in achieving health related MDGs with an emphasis on child health including vaccination, reproductive health, support for improving access to medication, reducing the burden of diseases such as HIV/AIDS or communicable diseases.
The promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women are an essential part of France's commitment.
Concerned by progress yet to be made to reduce child and maternal mortality, France has strongly supported the G8 Muskoka initiative to strengthen the efforts on MDG4 and MDG5.
Innovative financing is a pragmatic response which is based on solid experience since 2006. In barely four years, it has raised almost three billion extra dollars for development. France has pledged for a large participation for the implementation of an International tax on financial transactions that could rise up to 40 billion per annum.”
Nicolas Sarkozy, President, France, “It is imperative that African countries continue to invest in the health of women and children, recognizing that they are the engine for national development.”
Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi, Chairperson of African Union, “The Regional Task Force for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality provides a successful model for effective collaboration between health agencies and other partners to accelerate the reduction of maternal mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Above all, it proves that a joint response is often the most effective.”
Marcela Suazo, Director, Latin American and Caribbean Regional Office, UNFPA, “This decade we will create and extend computing technology to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth.”
In the coming decade, we expect to make great strides as we develop solutions to major global problems in healthcare, education and the environment. Intel focuses on developing partnerships that include national and regional government officials, local community leaders, private-sector companies and NGOs. Intel's expertise in digital technology helps governments and healthcare leaders improve health education, enhance health worker productivity, increase clinic efficiency and expand access in underserved areas.
Studies indicate that a 10% increase in [broadband] penetration accelerates economic growth by about 1.4 percentage points in developing economies, leading to better health for women and children.
Paul S. Otellini, President and Chief Executive Officer, Intel, “Faith and compassion can help us implement the Global Strategy. No woman should die giving life, and no child should die from easily preventable causes.
The moral authority of religious leaders gives them enormous potential to inspire and unite people across national borders, and to confront and change harmful practices in society.
Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have a high level of social capital – through their long history of people-centered work and civic partnerships with governments and other decision-makers – and are trusted sources of support and services for many, especially the most vulnerable.
[The World Council of Churches initiative] is a concerted effort to form national and regional plans based on advocacy, information sharing and capacity building to translate the Global Strategy into tangible gains for women and children.
The Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary , World Council of Churches, Academia, research and teaching constituency, “We believe that the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health will be an effective mechanism to increase momentum towards the Millennium Development Goals, and to mobilize resources for women's and children's health worldwide.
The Global Strategy calls for a coordinated global research agenda for women's and children's health. As the lead stakeholders in this agenda, we shall endeavor to expand research in this area to develop new interventions and more-effective models of delivering care.
Child health, Professor Jane Schaller, Pediatrics Emerita, Tufts University, “Now we must integrate solutions across the continuum of care by combining the strength of modern technology with the expertise of dedicated health professionals.
The Global Strategy for Women and Children's Health makes a powerful call for more innovation, particularly for the use of wireless technology. We take up that challenge.
Mobile ICT can transform millions of lives. We look forward to working with friends across the world to implement the Global Strategy and achieve the MDGs.”
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, “Improving women's and children's health is my personal priority as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We recently committed US$1.5 billion in new grants over the next five years to support family planning, maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition programs in developing countries.
During this year's United Nations General Assembly, I joined U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and Australia Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd in announcing the launch of a five-year global alliance to accelerate progress in averting unintended pregnancy and reducing maternal and neonatal mortality.
We have inexpensive and effective interventions that can save the lives of millions of women and children, resulting in healthier families, communities, and nations.
Melinda French Gates, Co-Chair , The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “In poor rural communities, the Foundation supported the renovation of bore holes and hand pumps, so women and children no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water from infected sources. This has reduced diarrhea in children and improved the socioeconomic status of women.
More indigenous private-sector and philanthropic contributions are needed in Nigeria to counter the strong reliance on the government and foreign donors to provide finance. As convener of the first Nigerian Philanthropy Forum, the Foundation aims to promote philanthropy in Nigeria and to broaden the scope of actors and institutions' involved in philanthropy.
Ms. Thelma Ekiyor, Executive Director, TY Danjuma Foundation, “It is not enough to hope, promise and envision. We need to translate the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health into action plans.
Sustainable changes require social mobilization of leaders, civil society, the private sector, religious organizations, and every woman
People must understand when and how to access health services. Education is critical and often a missing link between women and the delivery of needed services.
By understanding the investment that each country needs, developing social pacts and educating individuals on health seeking behaviors, we can accelerate progress and improve the lives of millions.
Graça Machel, “Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are at the heart of efforts to achieve the MDGs, fighting to ensure that policies and programs reflect the priorities of women and children, especially those living in the poorest and most marginalized areas.
NGOs educate, empower, advocate, mobilize, train, treat, innovate and monitor. Above all, we act – with and for the people we serve – to fight for the rights and needs of the vulnerable in communities around the world.
We must continue to push governments, donors, and others with resources and power to invest and support progressive action.
NGOs will also continue to invest in innovative approaches to reach the most vulnerable populations.
Through our work on the ground, particularly with marginalized communities, NGOs serve as watchdogs, monitoring government and donor compliance – or failure – in meeting financial, service and policy commitments.
The international community and national governments must work with NGOs as equal and essential partners for health care and development, in planning, monitoring and implementing the important commitments made through the Global Strategy.
Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, BRAC
Robert Glasser, CARE International
Ann Starrs, Family Care International
Gill Greer, International Planned Parenthood Federation
Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children
Theresa Shaver, White Ribbon Alliance
Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver
Kevin Jenkins, World Vision International
The Health Care Professional Associations are committed to working collaboratively with other partners (Ministries of Health, NGOs, UN agencies and Bilaterals) in 25 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America over the next five years to help integrate RMNCH policies and develop common frameworks for action across medical, midwifery and nursing institutions and district-level health systems.
The Health Care Professional Associations will focus on working with policy and implementing agencies to improve coverage and quality (effective coverage) of the key 22 Countdown supported interventions in these 25 target countries by at least 20% between 2011 and 2015.
Gamal Serour, President
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)
Bridget Lynch, President
International Confederation of Midwives
William Keenan, Executive Director
International Pediatric Association
Angela Enright, President
World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists
Edward W. Weaver, President
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Anthony.D. Falconer, DM, FRCOG, President
Royal College of Obstetrician Gynaecologists
André B. Lalonde, MD, FRCSC, FSOGC, FACS, MSc, Executive Vice-President
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Contacts and sources: