Executive Director’s blog


March

With just a little more than 700 days left to go before the December MDG deadline, debate is heating up around what will be the next iteration post 2015—the Sustainable Development Goals. PMNCH has been an active participant in these discussions and through its 40 member strong Post 2015 Working Group, has issued a policy brief on “Placing Healthy Women and Children at the Heart of the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Framework”.

This policy brief aims to inform Member States and Post 2015 advocates on critical women’s and children’s health issues and how these could be integrated into the Post 2015 development agenda. Through evidence based recommendations, it seeks to align partner advocacy efforts in what is a very complex environment. We encourage partners to use this brief in their Post 2015 advocacy efforts.

A rights-based, people-centred, equity focused and gender sensitive Post 2015 framework that builds on the MDG, is at the core of this brief and to ensure an adequate focus of this framework on women’s and children’s health, it also calls for

  • The inclusion of a stand-alone health goal that maximises health and wellbeing, specifying an end to preventable mortality and morbidity and fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights; achieving this through universal health coverage, with targets that guide countries to leave no one behind;
  • A focus on the most vulnerable and critical population groups for maximizing progress towards improving health and development outcomes, particularly newborns and adolescents;
  • The integration of shared targets into all relevant sectors such as nutrition, education, gender, and infrastructure such as water, sanitation and energy to address the underlying determinants of health; and
  • Consideration of differentiated targets for countries based on their levels of development.

Health and gender have featured prominently in Open Working Group and Commission on the Status of Women discussions. The recently concluded CSW called for a standalone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment, while the Open Working Group has focused on health and population dynamics and gender equality and women’s empowerment. Continued efforts are required to ensure that the Post 2015 framework adopts a comprehensive approach to improving women’s and children’s health outcomes.

The policy brief was in part informed by the ongoing Success Factor Study which demonstrates the importance of cross sectoral investments for improved health outcomes. I was in Kathmandu last week taking part in a Success Factors country consultation and saw how many factors have come together to stimulate progress: increasing female literacy; the consistent deployment of Female Community Health Volunteers; better communications, including road infrastructure and the widespread use of mobiles ; and much else.

Nepal is one of 10 countries on the fast track to achieving 2015 Millennium Development Goals for women’s and children’s health. It will feature in the Success Factors in Women’s and Children’s Health study, which aims to understand what factors contribute to a country achieving, or being on track to achieving MDG success.

Country consultations are ongoing in the 10 success factor countries and findings from the study will be launched at the Partners’ Forum in June.

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