Tracking health of women and children more closely
10 January 2011
A high-level Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health has been established by the United Nations Secretary-General, and will hold its first meeting on 26 January 2011. It will produce an accountability framework and action plan to track results in women's and children's health and resources earmarked for that purpose. This will encourage donors to make contributions on time and for such funds to be spent wisely and transparently. It will help countries direct funding to the most effective programmes, and help significantly reduce what Commission Co-Chair and Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper called "the appalling mortality rates among women and children in the developing world." The Commission arose out of the September 2010 United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals where a Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health was adopted and US $40 billion was committed to save millions of lives. The Health Metrics Network is contributing to its work. Dr Richard Horton, Chair of the HMN Executive Board and Editor of The Lancet is leading the Commission's Working Group on improving accountability for results. The Commission will propose steps to improve health information and registration of births and deaths in low-income countries, which is closely linked to HMN's work. "HMN has a very important role to play in the future rolling out of results coming from the Commission," said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, while presenting the Commission structure and deliverables today to WHO staff.