Health News of 2014-07-04

Country Leadership is vital in maternal and Child Health

Participants at the just ended 2014 Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) Partners’ Forum, have reaffirmed that country leadership is vital in ensuring maternal and child health.

They also recognised the need to include the marginalised and under-served groups as partners in the design of policies and strategies that affect their lives. Speaking at close of the forum, Ms Graca Machel, Chair of PMNCH, applauded the progress made in halving global maternal and child mortality since 1990, but expressed regret that the progress had been uneven for some countries, marginalised and under-served groups, including adolescents.

She said: “No one should be left behind and there is no room for complacency.” Dr Carole Presern, Executive Director of PMNCH, explained that with the remaining days of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and beyond the 2015, countries should commit themselves to accelerate progress by supporting good governance and leadership at all levels of government, civil society, the private sector and the community strengthened by the use of timely reliable data and evidence for decision making and accountability.

She called for the need to share lessons as a global community on what works and what doesn’t to ensure fulfillment of the highest attainable standard of health for women, newborns, children and adolescents. Dr Presern said: “I am happy that we leave with a renewed sense of commitment and joint accountability to achieve our goals of eliminating preventable deaths and morbidity for women, newborns, children and adolescents.”

He called for universal access to the full range of services for good sexual reproductive, maternal, newborn, children and adolescent health. The PMNCH is a partnership of 625 organisations from seven constituencies: governments, multilateral organisations, donors and foundations, non-governmental organisations, healthcare professional associations, academic, research and training institutions, and the private sector.

The vision of the partnership is the achievement of the MDGs, with women and children enabled to realise their right to the highest attainable standard of health in the years 2015 and beyond. The forum was attended by over 800 health experts and public health official. Participants reviewed new data and called for accelerated action to improve maternal, newborn and child birth.

The forum witnessed the launch of “Every Newborn Action Plan,” which was endorsed by the World Health Assembly and provided a concrete road-map to reducing preventable newborn deaths and stillbirths.

"The Countdown to 2015 Report for 2014," which assessed progress towards the maternal and child health MDGs, and the "Success Factors for Women and Children’s Health Report," was also launched as well as the "State of the World’s Midwifery 2014," which highlighted progress and challenges delivering live-saving midwifery services in 41 sub-Saharan countries.