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New global partnership will take immediate action to help women and children survive

A young woman with her child, Ethiopia

For the first time, the world’s leading maternal, newborn and child health professionals have formally joined forces to step up efforts to achieve the international development goals for child and maternal health. The new partnership marks a milestone in an intensive and growing global focus on the health of women and children.

While some countries have made progress, at current rates the world is not on track to achieve the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for maternal and child health. Each year, more than half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth and nearly 11 million young children die, most of preventable causes. Today, to address this health crisis, countries and organizations active in maternal, newborn and child health have launched The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. “If the world is to meet the goals of reducing maternal and under-five mortality by 2015, only a focused, coordinated effort can bring women, newborns and children the health care they need during pregnancy, delivery, the early weeks of life and in childhood. By working with countries to increase access to existing health care solutions, this Partnership has the potential to transform millions of lives and make critical progress," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health will begin immediately to work with national leaders on delivering the much-advocated "continuum of care" approach to countries. In recent publications including the WHO's World Health Report 2005, The Lancet Child Survival and Neonatal Series, and the UN Millennium Project's "Who's Got the Power?", leading global health experts agree that progress begins when a women's health needs are addressed at the same time as her child's.

At the partnership launch event today in New York, Alpha Oumar Konaré, Chairperson, Commission of the African Union said, “Greater political leadership coupled with increased financial resources are needed at international and national levels if we are going to meet these goals. Investment in maternal, newborn and child health is not only a priority for saving lives, but it is also critical to advancing other goals related to human welfare, equity, and poverty reduction.” Leaders from countries, donor agencies, UN organizations, professional associations, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations have joined the partnership.* It is a merger of three existing collaborations focused on maternal, newborn and child health and will be hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva.

* The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health unites developing and donor countries, UN agencies, professional associations, academic and research institutions, foundations, and NGOs to intensify and harmonize national, regional and global progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5.

Members include: Academy for Educational Development (AED); Aga Khan University; All India Institute for Medical Science (AIIMS); Averting Maternal Death and Disability (AMDD); Bangladesh Rural Advancement Commission (BRAC); Basic Support for Institutionalizing Child Survival (BASICS); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Columbia University; Commonwealth Secretariat; Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN); Department for International Development, UK (DFID); Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, Germany (GTZ); Emory University Rollins School of Public Health; Enfants du Monde, Switzerland; Family Care International (FCI); Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil; Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies (FAOPS); Futures Group; Government of Bangladesh; Government of Bolivia; Government of Cambodia; Government of Ethiopia; Government of India; Government of Italy; Government of Mozambique; Government of Nepal; Government of Nigeria; Government of Pakistan; Government of Tanzania; Government of Uganda; Gynuity Health Projects; Institute of Child Health, International Perinatal Care Unit, UK; International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh: Centre for Health & Population Research; Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment/University of Aberdeen (IMMPACT); International Association for Maternal and Neonatal Health (IAMNEH); International Confederation of Midwives (ICM); International Council of Nurses (ICN); International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO); International Pediatric Association (IPA); International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); International Union Against TB and Lung Disease; IntraHealth International, Inc.; Ipas; Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); JHPIEGO/ACCESS Project; John Snow International; Johns Hopkins University; Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Latin America Maternal Mortality Initiative; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Midwifery Society , Royal College of Nursing, UK; National Committee for Maternal Health, Pakistan; National Institute for Health, Global Maternal and Neonatal Research Network, US; Nigerian Partnership for Safe Motherhood; Obstetric Fistula Working Group; Population Council; Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH); Regional Prevention of Maternal Mortality Network, Ghana; Reproductive Health Response in Conflict Consortium (RHRC); Safe Motherhood Network of Nepal; Save the Children, Saving Newborn Lives Initiative; Society for Education, Action, and Research in Community Health, India (SEARCH); Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC); Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA); The Manoff Group; The Task Force for Child Survival and Development; The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood; The World Bank; United Nations Children's Found (UNICEF); United Nations Population Found (UNFPA); US Agency for International Development (USAID); US Coalition for Child Survival; US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Reproductive Health (CDC); Women and Children First; Women's Global Health Imperative; Women's Health and Action Research Centre, Nigeria; World Health Organization (WHO).

For more information contact:

Brooke Girard
Telephone: +41 22 791 1485
Mobile phone: +41 79 477 4100

Mr Christopher Powell
Communications advisor
WHO/Family and Community Health
Telephone: +41 22 791 2888
Mobile phone: +41 79 217 3425