Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Women Deliver 2010

7-9 June 2010

On behalf of the H4 partners, WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank, Dr Ties Boerma, Director of the WHO Department of Health Statistics and Information, discussed global maternal mortality estimates and the need to improve the data on which to build effective interventions to improve maternal health with Dr Christopher Murray, the Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evalutation and   Sharon Camp from the Guttmacher Institute in a plenary session at the Women Deliver conference

The second global conference Women Deliver 2010 was held in Washington DC, from 7 to 9 June and focused on the theme delivering solutions for girls and women. The conference highlighted the issue of women's health and development in general and underlined the need to place maternal and reproductive health on top of the global agenda. The conference was attended by some 3500 people from 146 countries and gathered ministers, parliamentarians, experts, first ladies, royalty, celebrities, midwives, young leaders and civil society representatives etc. Apart from the Secretary General the heads of five United Nations agencies participated. The WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, addressed the Ministerial Forum at the conference on behalf of the eight health organizations known as the H8, including WHO. Dr Chan called for commitment, leadership and financial investment.

"We need to be smart and build synergies through an integrated approach, delivering services centred on women and children, with a focus on the vulnerable and disadvantaged", she said and added that implementing the Global Consensus for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health would bring a great return on investment and improve sustainability. The participants of the conference stressed that Millennium Development Goals 5, 4 and 6 which aim to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health, reduce newborn and child mortality and combat HIV, Malaria and TB are interrelated and will only be achieved by investing in women. The conference also illustrated the relationship between health, gender equality and development.

MPS helped organize and participated in a number of panels and sessions for example on human resources for maternal and newborn health, adolescent pregnancy, congenital syphilis elimination and on ways to improve poor women's access to maternal health services.

During the conference, the "Countdown to 2015: taking stock of maternal, newborn & child survival Decade Report (2000-2010)" was launched. While new data indicate that child and maternal mortality are declining, the report shows that most of the 68 countries monitored will not meet MDG 5, aimed at reducing maternal deaths by 75 percent from 1990 to 2015 and achieving universal access to reproductive health.

The conference served as a platform to discuss the UN Secretary General's Global Action Plan for maternal, newborn and child health and new commitments for greater investment in the health of women and children were made. Most notably Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged new funding of $1.5 billion over five years to support maternal and child health.

The Women Deliver conference was launched in 2007 in London, U.K. to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Safe Motherhood Initiative and highlighted the major neglected public health issue of maternal and newborn health and survival. Women Deliver has helped create worldwide commitments, partnerships and networks with a common goal to achieve MDG 5 and contributing to the achievement of MDG 4 and 6.

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