Executive Director’s blog


September

The final Countdown. It’s been two years since the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (COIA) delivered its landmark report at the UN General Assembly. And it’s about 850 days until the 31 Dec 2015 deadline. The COIA report invigorated the health and development community, and set an important new agenda for PMNCH that we are implementing in all our knowledge and advocacy work, whether it be with governments, parliamentarians, the media, the private sector or civil society coalitions.

Notably, this work has included the production of the annual PMNCH report on commitments to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. This year’s report – our third and most comprehensive – analyses the implementation of pledges by nearly 300 commitment-makers from across government, donors, foundations, the UN, civil society and the private sector. This is nearly triple the number of commitment-makers compared with the time of the launch of the Global Strategy in 2010.

We report pleasing news on implementation and disbursement of these pledges, as well as some disturbing gaps in the commitments to the Global Strategy. The full PMNCH report will be available from 22 September on our website, when it will be launched at a Sunday brunch at the start of the UN General Assembly week. It sits alongside a neat accountability package which will include new reports and findings from Countdown to 2015, and the independent Expert Review Group. The Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health will also be discussed.

So, what works? PMNCH will also unveil top findings from our new “Success Factors” research study. Many partners have been involved, including the World Bank, WHO, USAID, many countries and a host of other key partners. The study looks at those countries ‘bending the curve’ on maternal and child mortality and making progress in reproductive health, and asks the all-important question: “What do successful countries have in common?” The answers may surprise you. Findings will be shared through a series of journal articles and country case studies in the coming months. We are looking forward to sharing a sneak peek with partners in New York.

September is always a major month on our calendar. And we started the month on a firm footing. Last week saw a regional budget-tracking workshop attended by representatives of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Liberia, co-hosted in Nairobi with more than a dozen partners, including the WHO, Save the Children, Family Care International and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Civil society, the media and parliamentarians are major actors in the push for greater transparency and accountability, and their knowledge and engagement are critical in achieving successful outcomes. As the Hon. Ekwee Ethuro, Speaker of the Kenyan Senate, noted in his opening remarks at the workshop: “The national budget is the most important policy tool that a government has.”

It is our goal at PMNCH to use the evidence for action, and to support joint platforms for action, so such tools are better able to deliver health and quality of life for women and children in every country.

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