2014 Partners' Forum
30 JUNE - 1 JULY | Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
Plenary 2: Health: A model of Accountability for Post-2015
The second plenary of day one at the Partners’ Forum, “A model of Accountability for Post-2015 plenary” set the tone for the overall discussions scheduled to take place in parallel.
Ms. Tsepiso Makwetla, News and Current Affairs anchor, South African Broadcasting Corporation, set the stage for the session by reviewing the historical development of the MDG framework, the Global Strategy, and initiatives such as Countdown to 2015 to promote accountability for progress in women’s and children’s health. The keynote address, delivered by Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Co-chair of Countdown to 2015, focused on the key results of the “Countdown 2014 report: Fulfilling the Health Agenda for Women and Children” launched today at the Partner’s Forum. These included the main findings on progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 in the 75 countries in the world where over 95% of all maternal, newborn and child deaths occur, reflections on the centrality of high quality, timely data for accountability, and lessons learned from Countdown’s 10 years of experience of using evidence to stimulate action and to drive change.
Following the keynote address was a roundtable discussion with the panellists on what has worked well (and not well) with the current accountability framework, and how we can build a more holistic framework in the post 2015 era that retains a focus on the unfinished business of women’s and children’s health while also taking into consideration the role of non-health sectors in reducing mortality and attaining sustainable development. The panellists included Honourable Stephen Kebwe Kebwe, Deputy Minister of Health & Social Welfare, Tanzania, Ms. Joy Phumaphi, Co-chair, independent Expert Review Group, Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, Regional Coordinator NORTH and Evidence Advisor, Evidence for Action in Maternal and Newborn Health, Nigeria, and Ms Nargis Shirazi, Project Manager, It Takes Two Campaign and Co-founder, WO-MAN Foundation.
The panellists called for greater capacity building of countries to collect analyse and use data as essential for accountability efforts moving forward. Tools such as country scorecards and profiles were highlighted as critical for management purposes and for shedding light on variations in progress at sub-national levels. Panellists stressed the importance of budget transparency and increased efforts to bring all key stakeholders to the table, including civil society and the media, at key points throughout the national planning cycle so that available resources are most effectively allocated. All agreed that citizens need to be empowered through awareness raising efforts about their health rights so that they can individually and collectively demand improved access to high quality, affordable health care services.
“The time to act is now. We must not wait until 2015 to strengthen existing accountability mechanisms that are independent, derived from consensus across constituencies, and that are based on a cycle of data collection, analysis, review followed by action that will improve the lives of women and children,” said Ms. Phumaphi. “Innovative technologies for data collection are key to increasing data availability,” said Dr. Bhutta, “but these technologies alone will not translate into measurable improvements in health outcomes without concurrent improvements in local capacity to appropriately use and act on the evidence collected.”
“Accountability is all our responsibility,” stressed Ms. Shirazi. “Citizens must speak out and governments and donors must be held to account for commitments made.”