New Global Consensus on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health to save over 10 million lives
World leaders commit to innovative funding for women’s and children’s health
22 SEPTEMBER 2009 | NEW YORK - A new Consensus for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, agreed this year by a broad range of governments, non-governmental organizations, international health agencies, and individuals, through the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), will be launched at a high-level event at the United Nations on Wednesday, September 23rd. The Consensus sets out the key action steps to save the lives of more than 10 million women and children between now and 2015.
The event, Investing in our common future: Healthy women, healthy children, will be hosted by the co-chairs of the High-Level Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems, Gordon Brown (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) and Robert Zoellick (President of The World Bank) and attended by several other heads of state, heads of government, and other dignitaries. During the event, co-organized with the governments of Chile, Finland, and Tanzania and the PMNCH, they will propose a set of innovative measures to finance health programs for women and children in developing countries.
The Consensus, endorsed by the Group of Eight (G8) at its meeting in Italy in July, will be launched by Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization. It urges “bold, focused and coordinated action on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health,” and lists five priority actions needed to make it happen: (1) political leadership and community engagement; (2) a quality package of evidence-based interventions, delivered through effective health systems; (3) the removal of barriers to access, with services ideally being free at point of use for all women and children; (4) skilled and motivated health workers, in the right place at the right time; and (5) accountability for results.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed by the UN General Assembly in 2000, provide a roadmap for eradicating extreme poverty. More than halfway to the 2015 deadline, however, the health-related goals — and particularly MDG 4 (Reduce child mortality) and 5 (Improve maternal health) — are far off track. Failure to take urgent action now will mean a continuation of the preventable deaths of 4 million children and 780,000 adults each year, including half a million women who die annually in pregnancy or childbirth.
The Consensus for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health states that, in order to fulfill MDGs 4 and 5 and save the lives of more than 10 million women and children, the world must invest an additional $30 billion, beyond current commitments, during the period 2009 through 2015. At the UN event, President Bachelet of Chile, who co-hosted a high-level event at the UN this time last year, will stress the importance of tracking existing commitments to ensure that pledges are fulfilled and funds used in the most effective way to achieve results.
WHAT: Investing in our common future: Healthy women, healthy children: A high-level event during the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly
WHEN: Wednesday, 23rd September 2009 — 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm
WHERE: Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York
WHO: The High-Level Taskforce for Innovative Financing. Co-hosts; Prime Minister Gordon Brown and World Bank President Robert Zoellick. In partnership with the governments of Chile, Finland, and Tanzania and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. Speakers and attendees will include several heads of state and government.
Interviews before and after the event with representatives of PMNCH and its partners, including the Ministry of Health of Chile, can be arranged through the contact listed above. Full release issued on Wednesday.