OECD explores maternal health indicator for health

27-30 OCTOBER 2009 | BUSAN, KOREA

Organizer: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
Event dates: 27-30 October 2009
Venue: Busan, Korea


27-30 OCTOBER 2009 | BUSAN KOREA – A key session at a major forum of the world’s economic development organization - the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)- explored the importance of maternal health in the context of developing monitoring indicators for health. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) took part in the Third OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, with Dr Andres de Franciso presenting on MNCH accountability and advocacy.

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize recipient for Economics presented the Stiglitz Commission report to the OECD, a Commission which included four other Nobel economists. The report points to an increasing gap between what official statistics say about economic performance and how people perceive their own living conditions, and that Gross Domestic Product measurement of market production are ill-suited as a metric for societal well-being. The Commission proposes new indicators to measure subjective aspects of social progress such as freedom, security and contentment as well as objective features including economic and ecological resources.

MNCH Session

The Third OECD World Forum meeting reflected a high level policy demand for alternative indicators to measure well-being, and focused on the design of alternatives indicators and their measurement. Together with Dr. Christopher Murray, Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, PMNCH designed the only session at the OECD World Forum which focused on health.

The session stressed the importance of maternal health and the need to incorporate health processes and outcomes to the thinking of such an indicator. The session was chaired by Dr. Murray, and there were three presentations: one on measurement of maternal mortality across the world and issues related to indicators and their measurement; a country study on health insurance and its relation to policy making; and one on global advocacy and accountability for MNCH: a needed link to progress towards MDGs 4 & 5 — to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. The latter presentation is available below.

The case was made of the relevance of health estimates in any indicator on well-being. Further work is to be carried out in 2010 by the OECD and partners to reach such an indicator and to incorporate it into OECD reporting.

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