2014 Partners' Forum
30 JUNE - 1 JULY | Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
Session 1D: Every Mother, Every Newborn: Ensuring Quality of Care at Birth
Following the official launch of the Every Newborn action plan at the 3rd Partners’ Forum, the parallel session on Every Mother, Every Newborn focused on the evidence and actions needed to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths. Chaired by Kim Dickson, Maternal and Newborn Senior Advisor at UNICEF, and attended by over 150 participants, the session began with appreciation to PMNCH Chair Graça Machel for launching the Every Newborn action plan. The plan takes forward the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and is an integral part of Every Woman Every Child and inspired by A Promise Renewed.
Ms. Dixon emphasised the message that every baby is born to live and no mother should die while giving life. Professor Joy Lawn, LSHTM, followed by giving a dynamic overview of evidence from The Lancet Every Newborn Series, and took the audience through countdown to preventable deaths:
- 5) 5.5 million babies enter and leave the world without a birth or death certificate.
- 4) 44% of all under-5 deaths are newborns
- 3) 3 million lives could be saved per year for women and newborns and prevention of stillbirths and a triple return on investment
- 2) 2 actions that we really need to focus on: Care at birth universal coverage and quality and care of small and sick newborns. There need to be specific things for newborns done within continuum of care
- 1) USD 1.15 per capita per year could save 3 million lives per year
- 0) Zero preventable maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths. Currently 160 countries are within reach of achieving these goals by 2030 but there are 29 countries that need to more than double current progress to reach this goal.
Dr. Elizabeth Mason, a co-chair of Every Newborn from the World Health Organization, presented the Every Newborn action plan and the five things that need to happen differently:
- Intentional leadership development
- Integrated plans
- Investing for impact
- Implementation and innovation, and
- Indicators and metrics
Also, a diverse panel of experts spoke on each of the plan’s five key strategic objectives.
- Strengthen care around birth: Yogan Pillay, Deputy Director General, Department of Health, South Africa, spoke about the approaches taken in South Africa to improve care around the time of birth and the impact this has had on maternal and neonatal mortality. This includes implementing their national neonatal plan called HAPPINESS, launched 18 months ago, and which aima to reduce the neonatal mortality rate to 9/1000 live births by 2015.
- Improve quality of maternal and newborn care: Frances Day-Stirk, President, International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), spoke on the role of ICM to address maternal and newborn survival as part of the Every Newborn action plan. This includes developing resources, frameworks, standards of practice and regulations. Midwives have competency to deliver 87% of care needed for women and newborns and we need to keep working to give women respectful quality care throughout the world
- Reach every woman and newborn to reduce inequities: Manisha Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner, Maternal Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India, indicated that India - where one in three of newborn deaths globally occur - has taken great strides to address maternal and newborn health. As a sign of progress, the neonatal mortality rate dropped 6% from 2006-2012. In 2013 India launched the its own unique integrated RMNCH+A strategy, in which newborn care is an integral part. Priority districts have been identified for focus where there are the most vulnerable populations to address the inequities.
- Harness the power of parents, families and communities: Toyin Saraki, Founder-President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Inaugural Goodwill Ambassador International Confederation of Midwives; Save The Children Nigeria Newborn Champion, works to ensure that the community voice is empowered and heard. She noted that a rights-based approach for women is at the heart of change and her foundation uses a number of channels to raise awareness including social media, a women’s forum, investments in clean birth kits and advertisements to educate and shift social norms in order to stay alive as part of demand creation and birth preparedness. A key factor in driving these initiatives is messaging and strategies that take into account the sensativties of the population.
- Count every newborn, be accountable for action, Diane Jacovella, Assistant Dep. Minister, Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development Canada, noted that accountability for mothers and children has been key focus for Canada. The Toronto summit in May took place because maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) needs to stay on the global agenda. From Toronto, there are three messages to take forward: the need for civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS), the need for a single comprehensive mulit-sector plan, and including MNCH at the center of the health post-2015 agenda.
At this year’s World Health Assembly, 194 member states endorsed the Every Newborn Action Plan, committing to implement the actions presented. 40 new commitments to Every Newborn under the Every Woman Every Child movement were also introduced at the session, the largest collection of commitments generated since launch of Every Woman Every Child in 2010.
These new commitments included the announcement by Shamas-ur-Rehman Roor, of the Islamic Development Bank of the launch of their new 3-year USD 90 million Save the Mothers initiative. It was followed by Nathalie Africa of the UN Foundation highlighting the significant role that the private sector has played in supporting the Every Newborn action plan, which includes over a third of the official commitments submitted to the plan to date.