PMNCH Progress Report 2013

Publisher/Organizer: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Publication date: May 2014
Number of pages: 52
Language: En


Executive Summary

With just two years left until 2015 and the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) took a pragmatic decision in 2013. It struck a balance between accelerating progress towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5 on child and maternal health (taking account of other related MDGs) while looking ahead to the post-2015 development agenda – and promoting the role of women and children in that global agenda.

As such, four main themes shaped the Partnership's work in 2013:

  • Achieving political commitment at the highest possible level for women’s and children’s health, both in relation to the unfinished MDGs agenda and the emerging post-2015 development agenda;
  • Improving the coverage of essential interventions for women’s and children’s health;
  • Promoting accountability on commitments and processes towards improving women’s and children’s health;
  • Strengthening partner engagement and alignment, globally, regionally and nationally.

These four areas of work were underpinned by a commitment to cross-sectoral technical collaboration. This ensured that advocacy, evidence and accountability approaches were embedded in all outputs of the 2013 workplan.

"If we are to achieve the MDGs, we need to put women and children at centre stage of our planning, be it economic, political, social or cultural. That is what will bring social transformation and change."

Graça Machel, Chair, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health

The appointment of Graça Machel as PMNCH Board Chair in 2013 has further enabled PMNCH to sharpen its mission, building on the recognition that education, gender, nutrition and equity play vital roles in shaping outcomes.

In 2013, PMNCH played a major leadership role in partner-based advocacy efforts to support Every Woman Every Child. PMNCH was particularly active in supporting the reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health community (RMNCH) in consolidating and harmonizing the many important efforts established under the Every Woman Every Child umbrella.*<

Major efforts undertaken by the RMNCH community in 2013 included the country-level work of Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed (linking to the establishment of the Every Newborn action plan and movement); the launch of FP2020 (supporting and monitoring the pledges made at the London Summit on Family Planning of July 2012); ongoing technical and advocacy work associated with the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women's and Children's Health and the development of the RMNCH Steering Committee; and the implementation of country accountability frameworks to advance the recommendations of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health (CoIA).

Significant advocacy efforts included advocacy coordination for Every Newborn, CoIA and the United Nations Commodities Commission (the latter through PATH on behalf of the PMNCH NGO constituency). Every Newborn, in particular, will remain high on the PMNCH agenda in 2014. It represents an important opportunity to emphasize the need for quality of care at the time of birth for both women and children, and to support countries in strengthening national RMNCH plans and programmes. Both activities will help advance progress towards the MDGs.*<

The development of evidence for policy, underpinned by multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration, was another major theme for PMNCH in 2013. Together with the World Health Organization, PMNCH launched the Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health, linked to the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health. The investment case – the first ever produced by the RMNCH community – provides clear guidance to national policy-makers on investment priorities and expected economic and social returns. It was developed on the basis of robust analysis led by a group of more than a dozen partner organizations. Their work culminated in a November 2013 article in The Lancet.

The policy compendium for RMNCH (A Policy Guide for Implementing Essential Interventions for RMNCH) was published in February 2014. Based on a collaborative effort by partners over the course of 2013, it highlights that it is essential to have core policies in place to improve the coverage and quality of RMNCH interventions. For the first time, the document brings together key consensus-based health and multisectoral policy recommendations and guidance to improve the delivery of proven interventions to women and children. It is a companion document to Essential Interventions, Commodities and Guidelines for RMNCH.

Preliminary findings of the Success Factors study were presented in New York during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013. This is a multidisciplinary study of key factors, within and beyond the health sector, that contribute to accelerated national progress towards MDGs 4 and 5. The study analysed data and trends across 144 low- and middle-income countries over the past 50 years. This quantitative and qualitative study is a collaborative effort coordinated by PMNCH with a wide range of United Nations, donor and civil society partners. Essen

In 2013, PMNCH continued to advance the work on Accountability. For the third year since 2011, PMNCH produced a major annual report on the status and implementation of commitments to the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. The PMNCH 2013 Report – Analysing Progress on Commitments to the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health is the only publication dedicated to tracking commitments made by more than 300 individual stakeholders. As such, it has become a key part of the global accountability architecture for women's and children's health. It was also an important input into the report of the independent Expert Review Group (iERG).ccou

Other key products from PMNCH in 2013 included:

Post-2015 Consensus Statement

PMNCH convened nearly 250 partners in 2013 to sign a powerful joint position statement on the centrality of women’s and children’s health to the post-2015 development agenda. This statement was put forward to key members of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, resulting in a strong endorsement in the final report of the panel for the arguments made in the PMNCH statement.

Strategy brief series for policy events

Together with partners, PMNCH produces knowledge summaries and strategy briefs that synthesize evidence on proven approaches and helpful tools for the development and implementation of strategies to inform advocacy, policy and practice. These are developed for specific policy audiences and events. In 2013, PMNCH developed a series of 10 strategy briefs with the African Union (AU) and four multisectoral strategy briefs with the Partners in Population and Development (PPD).

Child marriage and adolescent health

Recognizing the important role that adolescent health plays in the RMNCH continuum of care, PMNCH in 2013 developed an adolescent health strategy. This will promote greater integration of adolescent health issues and representation in its advocacy, knowledge and accountability work. PMNCH convened more than a dozen partners, including the governments of Bangladesh, Canada and Malawi, at a high-level side event on child marriage at the 2013 session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. This was accompanied by a global press campaign on child marriage that reached approximately 300 million people via TV, radio, print and the internet, and a further 4.6 million people on Twitter.

Handbook on MNCH for Parliamentarians

As a key member of the RMNCH technical reference group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), PMNCH provided both technical and financial support for the development of the IPU’s Handbook on MNCH for Parliamentarians. Launched at the IPU’s autumn assembly in Geneva in October 2013, the handbook was distributed to more than 120 national parliaments.

Budget-tracking for parliamentarians, media and civil society

PMNCH is lead advocacy partner in the implementation of the Commission on Information and Accountability (CoIA) workplan. As such, it convened a major Africa regional workshop in August 2013 with WHO, Family Care International, Save the Children and other partners. The intention was to promote greater knowledge of budgets and accountability processes and to enhance effective advocacy and oversight among leading NGOs, media institutions and parliamentarians. Following the workshop, civil society coalitions from the five countries that attended were invited to develop proposals for catalytic funds to apply the knowledge from the workshop to national budget advocacy plans.

Conclusion

In 2013, PMNCH implemented a broad and ambitious workplan that collectively increased political commitment to women’s and children’s health. It also expanded the coverage of essential interventions, increased accountability for the many commitments that the community has made, and promoted stronger partner alignment and engagement.

Under the leadership of Graça Machel, PMNCH will continue in 2014 to support national, regional and global stakeholders in their efforts to accelerate the MDGs as 2015 approaches. At the same time, PMNCH will continue to mount a robust case for women’s and children’s health in the post-2015 goals and targets, serving as a unified platform for partners to speak with a common voice and to be heard.

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