World Health Assembly 2012

21-26 MAY 2012 | GENEVA

iERG Consultation

independent Expert Review Group

24 MAY 2012 | GENEVA - The first-ever open Consultation of the independent Expert Review Group (iERG) of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health took place during the World Health Assembly, at the World Council of churches.

The agenda included:

  • Rebecca Affolder, from UN Secretary Geneval Ban-Ki Moon's office, explained the history and goals of his Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health and the Every Woman, Every Child effort;
  • Flavia Bustreo, WHO's Assistant-Director General for Family, Women's, and Children's Health, showed how WHO and partner agencies were working to deliver accountability around the Global Strategy;
  • Ann Starrs, on behalf of the Countdown to 2015 collaboration, gave an early preview of the latest Countdown findings - measuring progress towards MDGs 4 and 5.
  • Carole Presern, the Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, described leading the team monitoring how the commitments and promises made to "Every Woman, Every Child" were being delivered.

Presentations were followed by interventions from the large audience assembled in the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

Message from the Chair - Dr Richard Horton

“It was an event all of us on the iERG have been looking forward to for months - our first open consultation with stakeholders. We have pored through numerical data, complex tables, challenging graphs, research papers, arid reports, and inflated claims. We needed a reality check. A meeting where people with first-hand knowledge of women's and children's health spoke about their experiences and concerns. On Thursday, May 24, in Geneva at the World Health Assembly, we got what we hoped for....

“...And then we heard from the large audience assembled in the World Council of Churches. We were encouraged to be bold, not to be boring, to make the best use of the independence we have been given. Offer praise, for sure, but don't be afraid to criticise. Positively, we learned that our accountability framework and the multistakeholder process it fosters in countries is welcomed. Less positively, we also heard that country strategies for women's and children's health were sometimes disconnected from global agreements and norms....