Press release: From Pledges to Action

Countdown to 2015: key mechanism for tracking progress

One of the key mechanisms for tracking progress on women's and children's health is Countdown to 2015, a global movement of academics, governments, UN agencies, foundations, health care associations and nongovernmental organizations formed in 2005 to track progress and analyze data from the 68 countries that account for more than 95 percent of maternal and child deaths.

Countdown to 2015 adds value by forging a clear, evidence-based consensus on priority interventions and coverage indicators, and by providing a mechanism for holding countries and their partners accountable for results.

The Countdown to 2015 Decade Report (2000-2010) was released in June, offering country-by-country indicators of progress in meeting women's and children's health goals. Countdown co-chair Zulfiqar Bhutta, MD, of Aga Khan University, Pakistan, will give a keynote address at the Delhi meeting highlighting lessons learned from country experiences, presenting an overall framework for accelerating action at the country level. Many countries are on the way to meeting their goals, but a substantial number of countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, have made insufficient progress, according to the 2010 Countdown report.

India, however, has made steady recent progress in advancing towards its MDG goals, aided in part by innovative policies that support poor women in seeking professional care during pregnancy and childbirth. As a result, newborn deaths have decreased and facility-based deliveries have risen substantially over the past five years.

Says India's Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad: "The Partners Forum meeting is both important and timely as we approach 2015 – the target year for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This conference can provide further momentum in making more rapid progress towards the MDGs. Considering the tremendous contribution The Partnership is making towards maternal and child health, we look forward to closer engagements with it, this year and beyond."