Countdown to 2015: Tracking progress in maternal, newborn and child health
The Countdown to 2015 for MNCH was established in 2003 and is collaborating with individuals and institutions to bring the best and most recent information on country-level progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which relate to maternal and child health, respectively.
The Countdown to 2015 for MNCH aims are to hold countries and their technical partners accountable for achieving real results at the population level. The Countdown is designed to complement the mission and aims of other Organizations and Initiatives. Yet, it remains supra-institutional and tightly focused on monitoring intervention coverage and stimulating better and stronger efforts at the country level.
The Countdown to 2015 for MNCH is made of one core Working Group and seven-related Working Groups. All groups work towards the promotion and advocacy of health intervention coverage for maternal, newborn and child health.
The second Countdown to 2015 for MNCH Conference will take place in April 2008 in conjunction with the 118th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly. The Conference will provide an opportunity to track the progress achieved in maternal and child health intervention coverage since the first Countdown Conference, which took place in London, UK in December 2005.
The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) has been collaborating with the Countdown to 2015 for MNCH efforts since its inception (in September 2005), and The Partnership's Secretariat has been asked to facilitate the planning and execution of events in 2008.
The objectives of the Countdown are:
- To summarize, synthesize and disseminate the best and most recent information on country-level progress in achieving high, sustained and equitable coverage of effective interventions aiming at reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality;
- To advocate for maternal, newborn and child health using coverage results and raising awareness of decision-makers and policy-makers at national and international levels;
- To disseminate regular information to stimulate discussion and action related to the reasons why progress has occurred or failed to occur in different regions of the world.
To date, the achievements of the Countdown include:
- International consensus on a set of indicators to be used in tracking coverage with proven interventions;
- Country-by-country reports on coverage levels for 2005 in 60 selected countries showing the highest rates or numbers of deaths among children less than five years of age;
- A major international conference in December 2005, bringing together researchers, program managers, donors and advocates from country, regional and international levels to review progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 and develop coordinated strategies related to coverage;
- Production of a report and a series of publications in The Lancet reporting on 2005 coverage levels;
- Stimulation of work in key areas associated with intervention coverage in poor countries, including financial flows, human resources, and political commitment;
- Identification of a cross-institutional program of work to improve evaluation and monitoring of coverage for effective interventions in maternal, newborn and child health;
- Activities implementation including the first country-level Countdown in Senegal in December 2006, a policy change by UNICEF to support Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at three- rather than five-year intervals, and a coalescence of monitoring efforts to focus on the Countdown coverage indicators by the United Nations, global initiatives including the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, the Health Metrics Network, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the Norway initiative for child survival.
Meeting of the Core Group, Geneva, October 2007
- Countdown to 2015 Child Survival: Conference and Report - London, December 2005