Saving Every Woman, Every Child: Within Arm’s Reach Toronto, Canada, May 28-30, 2014Published Posted on | By TZTA News
Toronto, Ontario,1. In 2010 the world came together to make saving the lives of women and children a global priority. First in Canada with the G-8 Muskoka Initiative and again in New York with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative, global leaders and representatives from developing and developed countries, foundations, the private sector and civil society made a commitment to the world’s most vulnerable – mothers, newborns and children – to accelerate progress on reducing the unacceptable levels of maternal, newborn and child mortality.
2. These initiatives provided the catalyst for concerted global efforts and have helped to drive down maternal and child mortality rates faster than ever before. In 2012, 400,000 fewer children died than in 2010, a significant contribution to the 90 million children’s lives that have been saved in the past two decades. An additional 250,000 women have survived pregnancy and childbirth over the past five years. Yet, across the globe, an estimated 6.6 million children and almost 300,000 women will die this year from preventable causes, many related to pregnancy and childbirth. Nearly half of all child deaths are related to under-nutrition.
3. Canada’s Saving Every Woman, Every Child – Within Arm’s Reach Summit has provided a renewed platform to advance maternal, newborn and child health as a global priority beyond 2015. With the support of key global leaders, including Summit Co-Chair, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, His Highness the Aga Khan, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation, Summit participants agreed that maternal, newborn and child health must remain a high-level global priority beyond 2015. With a renewed global commitment, Summit participants agreed that ending all preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation is within arm’s reach.
Getting Results for Women and Children
4. In their discussions on global progress, participants at the Summit agreed that since 2010, the source of success on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) has been global partners acting in unison to improve the health of women and children. Both the Muskoka Initiative and Every Woman Every Child were unprecedented in explicitly focusing global efforts on high-impact, evidence-based interventions along the continuum of care of pregnancy to childbirth to early childhood. Significant progress has been achieved in reducing maternal mortality through the strengthening of health systems and increased access to family planning. These efforts have allowed us to bend the curve on maternal, newborn and child mortality.
5. The Summit pointed in particular to the great success achieved through nutrition interventions and immunization programs. These interventions are central to results to date and to sustaining progress into the post-2015 period. In this context, the Summit pointed to the importance of providing increased support and priority to investing in nutrition through key partners such as the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, the Micronutrient Initiative, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Summit participants welcomed the May 20 announcement that Germany would host the GAVI replenishment meeting and called on all partners to increase their support to the GAVI Alliance, one of the most effective organizations in directly reducing child mortality.
Doing More Together Globally
6. Summit participants also called for increased efforts among global partners to work together across the continuum of care:
– Deepening investment to address maternal and neo-natal morbidity and mortality, especially for the most vulnerable;
– Addressing the causes of under-nutrition in women, adolescent girls and children under five;
– Addressing the prevention and treatment of childhood infectious diseases; and,
– Strengthening local health systems – including the training of front-line health workers.
7. Recognizing the critical importance of childbirth and the first 28 days of life to the survival of both the mother and newborn, participants looked forward to the upcoming PMNCH Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg to launch the Every Newborn Action Plan. This effort will signal a renewed global commitment to reducing newborn mortality.
8. Accountability for results is not only the cornerstone of good development, it is a contract between those pledging aid and those who are most vulnerable and live in need. Donors, international organizations and developing country governments themselves must be accountable for results for women and children. Chaired by Prime Minister Harper and President Kikwete, the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health brought an unprecedented level of clarity and effectiveness to the task of measuring the results of global efforts on MNCH. Summit participants called on global partners to support the WHO’s efforts to implement the recommendations of the Commission.
9. Going forward, participants called for timely, reliable, accurate and accessible health information as a critical catalyst for greater accountability within national health systems. At the heart of this task is a commitment to civil registration and vital statistics both as the legal basis for the realization of human rights, and the foundation for rigorous and accurate accountability. Currently it is estimated that approximately 230 million children are invisible, or not officially counted or recognized. In response, Canada announced that it would work in partnership with the World Health Organization, the United States, UNFPA, UNICEF, and the World Bank to explore the creation of a multi-partner platform to mobilize resources for country-led efforts on civil registration and vital statistics. The 69th Session of the UN General Assembly this September was identified as the next opportunity to advance these collective efforts.
10. To achieve sustainable and tangible results for women and children, Summit participants agreed that a wider spectrum of expertise and resources are needed. Innovative multi-sectoral partnerships are important, not just to leverage additional resources, but to spur new and innovative approaches to achieving results. These should include local governments, the private sector, civil society, and citizens themselves.
Taking Real Action on Women’s and Children’s Health
11. Making sustainable progress on saving the lives of women and children means taking real action – words are not enough. Summit participants called on all partners to maintain gains to date and increase momentum on efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health by the end of 2015. This will require increased efforts to reach the most vulnerable, including adolescent girls, to enable them to reach their full potential.
12. Summit discussions also made clear that meeting the ambitious goal of ending preventable deaths of women and children within a generation will mean carrying forward lessons learned:
– Political leadership – participants called on G-7 leaders to review progress on MNCH commitments at the upcoming G-7 meeting in Brussels in 2014 and again in Germany in 2015 and on developing country leaders to make investments in maternal, newborn and child health a priority.
– Financial commitment – participants welcomed Canada’s renewed commitment for MNCH over 2015-20 and called on other donors to meet their commitments to women and children, leading up to and beyond 2015.
– Accountability – participants called for a robust accountability framework on MNCH to be incorporated into the post-2015 development agenda.
– Common approaches – participants called on all partners to work in unison on MNCH to ensure global efforts remain focused on high-impact, cost effective interventions across the continuum of care.
13. The Summit discussions also emphasized that the time is now to anchor MNCH prominently into the post-2015 development agenda. Summit participants called on governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and health leaders to ensure that ending preventable maternal, newborn and under-five child mortality by 2030 is a central priority within the post-2015 development agenda.