Executive Director’s blog


Carole Presern, Director PMNCH

This week, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health travels to New York, where we will have our spring PMNCH board meeting, kindly hosted by UNFPA.

We have much to discuss in New York this week. Over the past several months, a Task Team of the PMNCH Board, co-chaired by the World Bank and Family Care International, have been discussing options for improving the flow and efficiency of RMNCH financing, building on existing mechanisms. SEEK Development, which authored the widely read Report on this subject last year, has further expanded its research and analysis. The Task Team has now produced a short report outlining its recommendations. Your views, as ever, are essential in shaping our response, and we welcome your thoughts and will report back to you on our website and E-Blast on this important debate after the New York meeting.

This meeting will be attended, for the first time, by the selected private sector board representatives, Johnson & Johnson and the GSMA, the Alliance representing mobile phone carriers around the world. We look forward to working with this new constituency , and promoting even greater synergies between PMNCH and the Innovation Working Group (IWG) in support of the Every Woman Every Child effort. Since January, PMNCH has acted as secretariat to the IWG, which just held its first face-to-face meeting in New York last week. (See below.)

Next week in New York will also bring the global launch of Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth, a ground-breaking new report providing the first-ever national, regional and global estimates of preterm birth. This report confirms that preterm birth is on the rise: It is now the second-biggest cause globally of child deaths under age five after pneumonia, and the leading cause of newborn deaths. PMNCH has been delighted to join the March of Dimes, Save the Children and the World Health Organization in bringing forward this report, which has been authored, reviewed and/or endorsed by nearly all partner organizations around the world. Link here to download the Report after the 2 May launch.

The timing is excellent: As we head toward the Call to Action for Child Survival in June and the UK Family Planning Summit in July and as the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children considers its recommendations, Born Too Soon presents a compelling case for all partners to take action at every step of the life cycle – from preventing adolescent pregnancy, to scaling up access to family planning for all, to ensuring the right commodities and care are available at the time of birth, to ensuring strong postpartum care for both women and newborns.

We are also delighted that this report contains a powerful foreword from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on preterm birth in relation to the goals of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. To put words into action, this report also showcases more than 30 new or expanded commitments to Every Woman Every Child around the theme of prevention or care of preterm birth: The commitments in full can be viewed on www.everywomaneverychild.org/borntoosoon as of 2 May at noon EST.

We invite you to get involved: Join the #BornTooSoon Global Relay TweetChat 9 am to 4pm EST on Thursday 3 May. This Twitter event will bring together experts, professionals, advocates and parents in a rolling conversation around preterm birth, flagged off in Geneva at 9AM EST by a Q&A session with report co-editor Dr Joy Lawn of Save the Children and rolling on to London, New York, Washington and Seattle, where the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) will host the final hour of this Twitter relay.

Finally, for those of you not in the Twitter-sphere, a telephone briefing will be hosted by the UN Foundation on 2 May at 2PM EST. Dr Christopher Howson of the March of Dimes, Dr Liz Mason of the WHO, and Dr Hannah Blencowe of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will speak to key findings. We look forward to joining you there.

Taken from the PMNCH April/May 2012 EBlast