To kick off UN General Assembly Week in New York City, Girls’ Globe bloggers attended the launch of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health 2013 Report. Some of the Report’s contributors and reviewers included members of the World Health Organization, Foreign Affairs Canada, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, SickKids Center for Global Child Health, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University. The representatives spoke on the current issues and accomplishments regarding maternal and child health, as well as accountability and moving beyond 2015.
Discussions of the Report show that improvements have been made in several countries regarding maternal, newborn, and child health. Bangladesh was cited as a success story reporting a significant decrease in maternal and child mortality in the past decade. Increased access to modern contraceptives, access to skilled birth attendants and private sector facilities, gains in female education, and better roads and mobile phone use have all contributed to the decrease in maternal and infant mortality rates in Bangladesh.
“Commitments to advance the Global Maternal and Child Health Strategy continue to increase- the number of commitment-makers rose from 111 in 2010 to 293 in 2013, and there is growing evidence that committed funding is being disbursed.”
Although Bangladesh provides the Report with positive statistics, many contributors and reviewers believe although some progress has been made, it is not sufficient to meet goals by 2030. Dr. Richard Horton, co-chair and editor of The Lancet, points out there are still 38 countries that have experienced no reduction in child mortality. Horton believes a need for increased civil society engagement, greater focus on the issue of violence against women, and a more human rights-focused universal approach are necessary factors in the fight to decrease maternal and child mortality rates. Similarly, Dr. Neff Walker, Senior Scientist at John Hopkins University, recognizes if we continue at this rate of growth, only 9 of the 75 countries will hit the MDG for reducing mortality. A lack of data surrounding adolescent reproductive health was also cited as a hindrance to achieving the goals.
There is an overwhelming sense of urgency to build effective accountability systems for countries, governments and organizations to ensure progress is being achieved. The report recognizes the need for stronger partnerships across a number of sectors in order for fundamental changes to occur. The majority of contributors and reviewers agreed in order to accelerate the goals on maternal and child health development initiatives must go beyond “business as usual.”
If you missed the conversation, check out our recap of the entire session and launch of the Report on Storify.
Blog Post by: Diane Fender and Justine Stacey
Featured Image Courtesy of: DFID