Putting the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health into action

The newly released 2010 Global Campaign Report follows up on the Global Strategy and asks world leaders to explain, in their own words, how they will implement the commitments to acheive the Health Millennium Development Goals.

The Context

Looking back, 2010 may be seen as the turning point in efforts to advance the agenda for women’s and children’s health. At no other time in recent history has there been so much excitement and attention paid to women’s and children’s health – world leaders are emphasizing it at high-level international events including the World Health Assembly, the African Union, the Pacific Health Summit, the UN General Assembly, and the G8 and G20 meetings. Its importance is being discussed and considered by national parliaments, local councils, and community leaders around the world.

With the launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has marked a firm departure from business as usual and developed an agreed game plan welcomed by all 192 member states of the United Nations. To make Global Strategy a reality, the international community has, for the first time, joined together in a concerted effort for women’s and children’s health, from government leaders and heads of state, to business, media, parliamentarians and development partners in education, water and sanitation, nutrition, and gender-equity.

At the MDG Summit in September, the international community pledged an unprecedented $40 billion of funding, coming from all stakeholder groups. It is clear that the international community has heard the UN Secretary-General’s call that every woman should be able to access the basic health services she needs and every child should have the right to a healthy future.

The Global Campaign Report

However, there is still much to do to achieve the MDGs. 2015 is not far away – commitments must be translated into action. This is the focus of the 2010 Global Campaign Report – to continue this momentum, encourage accountability for the commitments that have been made, and inspire other countries and organizations to contribute to this effort.

Each year, the Network of Global Leaders, a small group of international leaders committed to promoting public dialog around Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5, (respectively reducing child mortality by 2/3 and maternal mortality by ¾ by 2015) publish a report to identify challenges that stand in the way of achieving the health related MDGs and to galvanize world leaders to take action.

The 2010 Global Campaign Report follows up on the Global Strategy and asks world leaders to explain, in their own words, how they will implement the commitments made (~$40B), and their approach to holding themselves and others accountable for achieving real progress. Leaders from civil society, philanthropic institutions, the business community, health care professionals, and the UN and other multi-lateral organizations have joined together with government heads from both developed and developing countries to contribute to this report. Here are some of the highlights from the report:

• The African Union has committed to extending CARMMA (the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa) to all countries in Africa. CARMMA aims to increase awareness and prevent deaths among mothers and newborns.

• As this year’s G20 Chair, Korea has made efforts to accord development issues a central place at the G20 by creating a development agenda and preparing multi-year action plans

• The UK is creating a new Independent Commission for Aid Impact to monitor the use of its aid resources and will publish the information online

• The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the governments of the UK, Australia and US have formed an alliance to support high-need countries in reducing unintended pregnancies, maternal and newborn mortality. Already a Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health Business Plan is being developed to achieve this.

• France has proposed the implementation of an International tax on financial transactions to raise rise up to 40 billion annually for women’s and children’s health.

• Intel, by working with local governments, NGOs and telecom providers, is empowering women in Bangladesh to offer internet access in remote villages.

• Health Care Professional Associations are working to provide services which include: improved coverage and quality of care to reduce morbidity from post-partum hemorrhaging, assistance in standardizing competencies for midwives, further training of providers in neonatal resuscitation, and capacity building for obstetric and newborn services

• The World Council of Churches is mobilizing faith based and interreligious organizations in 13 countries to hold governments accountable for delivering on the pledges made to the Global Strategy

• In Latin America and the Caribbean, the interagency Regional Task Force for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality is implementing a Safe Motherhood initiative, promoting sexual and reproductive health, strengthening health care capacities to provide emergency obstetric care, and improving collection and use of data for better decision making.

• The Academia, Research and Teaching Constituency of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health has committed to create a coordinated research agenda, build research and innovation capacity of at least 100 research institutions, and establish a global network of academics, researchers and trainers, from developed and developing countries.

The Global Campaign Report is also a mechanism to share best practices and innovations between countries and institutions. Examples described in the report include:

• Ethiopia’s approach to building a – ‘women-centered’ health system, whereby women are empowered to lead in producing their own health and that of their families.

• Nepal’s financial management framework for health system funding. As a result of its transparent system with specific targets based on MDG indicators, Nepal has managed to significantly increase the total government and donor allocation towards health care.

• Rwanda’s implementation of a real time alert system that tracks the maternal and neonatal life cycle, ensures that critical points in the cycle are documented, and makes records available electronically to the nearest health centre. Rwanda has also implemented maternal and newborn death audits by the supervising health facilities to understand the causes of death and prevent future deaths.

Our next steps

To maintain the momentum in 2011, the 2010 Global Campaign Report sets the groundwork by outlining a plan for developing a robust Accountability Framework and articulating a roadmap for advocacy and political action for 2011.

Plan for Accountability

The Global Strategy identified the need for a clear accountability framework that builds on existing mechanisms but did not articulate how this would happen. In the Global Campaign, the WHO outlines high level terms of reference for a Commission on Accountability and Information and associated working groups that will develop the recommendations.

A 2011 Roadmap offers many opportunities to focus the world’s attention on the health of the most vulnerable women and children. In concert with the global gatherings, national, maternal, newborn and child health communities will rally behind governments in national and local events. This strategic roadmap, along with the continued focus and energies of all stakeholders supporting the Global Strategy, will allow 2011 to be a year where huge strides are made in bringing health and well-being to the lives of millions of women and children.

• The World Economic Forum (January, Davos) and the World Mobile Congress (February, Barcelona) are ideal venues for introducing the Global Strategy and gaining commitments from prospective private sector partners.

• In March, policy and financial issues relevant to women and children will be discussed at the African Union conferences in Addis Ababa.

• In April the Inter-Parliamentary Union will convene in Panama to discuss progress made against the health MDGs.

• Spring meetings for the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank offer opportunities to convince financial leaders of the socio-economic value of investing in women’s and children’s health.

• In May the world’s health ministers will gather at the World Health Assembly in Geneva to discuss how to best ensure real accountability for all stakeholders involved with the Global Strategy.

• During June, the G8/G20 in France will serve as a reflection point for members of the G8 to assess their progress against the Muskoka pledges and to solicit further support from other G20 partners.

• In parallel, civil society partners will gather to discuss issues central to the Global Strategy at the International Confederation of Midwives in Durban.

• In September, the General Assembly event will culminate with the first-ever accountability report of the Global Strategy.

Read more: www.norad.no/globalcampaign

Source: Royal Norwegian Embassy

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.