Executive Director’s blog


Members of the PMNCH Board came together last month in Johannesburg, South Africa—for the first time since the announcement of The Partnership’s new Board Chair, Graça Machel. As a former member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Mrs Machel shared a message — delivered on her behalf by PMNCH Board Co-Chair Ms Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary & Mission Director (National Rural Health Mission) of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare — commending PMNCH for bringing partners together to demand a prominent place for women’s and children’s health beyond 2015.

Mrs Machel noted that the high-level panel welcomed the Partnership’s submission, which was supported by more than 240 organizations. Going forward, she stressed the need for the PMNCH community to continue to speak as one. She called on the Partnership to play a key role ensuring that the UN General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, now leading the development of the post-2015 agenda, hears the voice of partners across diverse sectors calling for a strong focus on women’s and children’s health beyond 2015.

While taking up this challenge at the global level, PMNCH is also actively engaged with our partners in Africa as they articulate a regional vision for the post-2015 agenda. Shouldering the bulk of the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals, it is critical that the continent become the driving force for progress, results and accountability.

The African Union and the South African government are preparing to host the first-ever International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa in Johannesburg from 1-3 August. This will be an opportunity to take stock of progress in the region, highlight prevailing challenges, recommend innovative solutions and forge collective resolve in preparation for the next global development agenda.

PMNCH has been working with partners to contribute to the evidence base and discussions for this landmark event. This comes on the heels of recent engagement in the African Union’s “Abuja +12” summit, where African leaders agreed to step up efforts to strengthen health systems, and will pave the way for further discussions on best practices by African health leaders and development partners to scale up progress to improve women’s and children’s health.