By Alexandra Cairns, External Affairs Manager, Kupona Foundation
For anyone studying, working in, or interested in global development, this week will be monumental. The framework upon which the development community built 15 years of programing, funding strategies and advocacy is shifting. A new set of targets has dominated the discourse for the last 9 months, and will continue to do so until 2030: SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) will replace the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals), renewing our focus on long term, scalable solutions for the many challenges facing the development and prosperity of global communities.
At Kupona Foundation, we believe that people and communities need to be empowered to realize their full potential, and build productive futures. This starts with improving their access to healthcare. Healthy people can work, go to school, and care for their families. Access to quality healthcare has a ripple effect, amplifying positive impact across communities.
We are encouraged by the themes and conversations surrounding the UN General Assembly and associated events this week: safe surgery, mobile innovations in maternal health, and integrated approaches to development, to name a few. These are all signs that the diverse community of organizations committed to sustainable development are not looking to reinvent the wheel with this new agenda. This approach is vital to ensure that the collective progress made by the global development community over the last 15 years does not grind to a halt.
Look at the efforts to improve maternal healthcare since the MDGs were announced in 2000. Progress hasn’t come at the rate the world hoped for, but programs designed to improve women’s access to quality care during pregnancy and delivery are having an impact.
Tangible change for Tanzanian women
Last year, we reported on Girls’ Globe about exciting achievements at Temeke District Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Under the capacity building program coordinated by CCBRT (our sister organization in Tanzania), in partnership with the Government of Tanzania, Temeke reported zero maternal deaths in the month of September. For a full month, every mother that delivered at Temeke survived; a statistic unheard of in Temeke’s recent history. Encouraged by this success, CCBRT continued to:
- Provide training and on-the-job mentoring to healthcare teams at 22 public facilities
- Improve infrastructure, including ward renovations and operating theater refurbishments
- Distribute life saving equipment to fill critical resourcing gaps
In August 2015 – nearly one year since the original report — the team at Temeke confirmed two consecutive months of zero maternal deaths, and consistently lower maternal mortality rates for the first half of 2015. September 2014 wasn’t a stroke of luck. It was the result of hard work, collaborative partnerships, and integrated approaches to improving the quality of care available to mothers and newborns.
Building upon a solid foundation
There is still a long way to go. We’re working to ensure every mother and newborn in Tanzania has access to safe, quality healthcare. This week, we’re delighted to be joined in New York City by Erwin Telemans, CEO of CCBRT. Our joint attendance at events and meetings is a practical demonstration of our commitment to a collaborative model that combines our passion for innovative solutions and sustainable, life changing programs with CCBRT’s local expertise in providing quality healthcare.
Together, we look forward to exchanging ideas, and building and expanding partnerships with like-minded organizations, as we all work towards ambitious goals for the future of people and communities across the globe. We’re most excited to share our experiences, and learn from others, ensuring the ideas and initiatives we implement over the next 15 years are built upon the lessons learned and foundation of progress built since 2000.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Stay tuned to Twitter (@KuponaFdn, @ErwinTelemans, @CCBRTTanzania) for our live updates from UNGA Week, and to Girls’ Globe in October for a round up of our experiences and thoughts following the announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals.