Health and the next global development agenda
PMNCH advances call for post-2015 focus on women’s and children’s health
24-27 MARCH 2013 | BALI, INDONESIA — More than 200 representatives from the global development community gathered on the sidelines of the fourth meeting of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to debate key priorities to follow the Millennium Development Goals. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health took part in these discussions to ensure reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health remains a prominent part of the agenda.
A growing consensus was evident among those in attendance, with many participants referring to the need for an ambitious transformative framework that is people centered and people driven; that addresses economic, social and environmental aspects of development; that is human rights based, equity focused, gender sensitive, participatory, non-discriminatory and that ensures social protection for the most vulnerable, including women and children, the aged, the disabled, displaced populations, and indigenous groups.
The need for a comprehensive and cross-sectoral strategy to improve health outcomes, education, access to clean water and sanitation, safe housing, and other key human development considerations, was repeatedly raised. Members of the global community challenged the members of the High Level Panel to develop a framework that addresses these needs, and provides guidance on implementation and mechanisms for increased accountability.
PMNCH Executive Director Carole Presern, during a public sector outreach meeting, made the case for women’s and children’s health to remain a critical issue for the post-2015 development agenda. Congratulating the MDGs on having stimulated some progress, she notes that more remains to be done as women and children continue to die.
Dr Presern pointed to the following areas in need of increased focus: stillbirths, which were not counted in the MDGs; newborn deaths, which constitute an increasing proportion of child deaths; preterm births, which are a major problem in both developed and developing countries; and adolescent pregnancies, as complications from pregnancy and childbirth represent the leading cause of death for girls between the ages of 15 and 19.
Dr Presern noted that the post-2015 framework should build on the lessons learned from the MDG process and should promote equity, integration, a cross-sectoral approach to health, and a focus on health systems. Dr Presern’s views were supported by HS Dillon, Special Envoy to the President of Indonesia for Poverty Alleviation, who noted that poverty reduction should not focus on income but rather on issues such as access to health, education, employment and other empowering services.
Another key side event held in advance of the High Level Panel meeting in Bali was the distribution of the 2012 Indonesia MDG Awards. A total of 18 global development figures from local/regional governments, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and youth organizations, were recognized for their work in the following five categories: maternal and child health, nutrition, access to clean water and sanitation, education, as well as HIV/AIDS and other contagious diseases.