G8 Italy 2009 - Partnership sends open letter to Leaders
Dr Flavia Bustreo, Director, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, a.i.
17 July 2009 | Geneva - The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health has sent an open letter to G8 leaders applauding their commitment to maternal, newborn and child health in the final G8 Communiqué. The open letter follows the "Group of 8" (G8) gathering and Communiqué of the world's most powerful heads of state in Italy in early July.
In the letter, the Chair Joy Phumaphi (World Bank) and Co-Chairs- Dr Tedros (MoH- Ethiopia) and Ann Starrs (Family Care International) urge the G8 to translate the pledges into concrete action and offers the Partnership as a platform to develop the needed financial strategy and action plans: " We were therefore gratified to see, in the L’Aquila Summit’s Leaders Declaration, a set of clear and unprecedented statements on the centrality of maternal, newborn, and child health to overall progress on the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)…The Partnership is ready to work with you on the development of action plans and funding strategy, to achieve the mobilization of the financial resources necessary to implement these commitments, strengthen under-resourced health systems and recruit and train a million new health workers. "
The G8 Summit's strong support for maternal and child health has come a long way from last year's simple mention of the issue. It has come through a number of G8 actors' strong and high-level action to support maternal and child care: We have seen the new US administration change the past policy, and increase budgets to child, maternal and reproductive health for the first time in years. The United Kingdom, the Prime Minister and First Lady have taken an aggressive stand to end unnecessary maternal mortality worldwide. And in Italy just before the G8 meeting, parliamentarians passed a all-party resolution to increase Official Development Aid targeted to help improve maternal and child health.
This all took place under a backdrop of increased pressure from civil society on G8 leaders to acknowledge and fund solutions to save maternal and child lives. Many PMNCH partners - including non-governmental, academic and professional organizations - were involved in the Civil Society G8, hosted by the Global Call Against Poverty- Italy in May and July 2009 - a constant pressure which has led to stronger commitments and pledges from leaders.
The Partnership acknowledges these commitments are a strong step: " The consensus welcomed by the G8 in the declaration provides a solid framework for building and maintaining political momentum, identifying new and better-aligned resources, and promoting effective policies and programs to extend life-saving services to women and children. "
However, it is by no means a final step. In our letter, the PMNCH has offered itself as a platform to the G8 Leaders, to develop financial strategies and action plans to implement these pledges. And the Partnership will work to bring the maternal, newborn and child health agenda forward to the next G8 meeting, to be hosted by Canada in 2010, by working with civil society and parliamentarians there in the coming year. We will track commitments, help civil society hold politicians accountable-- and continue to help bring actors together to galvanize action.
Dr Flavia Bustreo, Director a.i.