The Partnership Update - June-July 2008

Country support

Investment case meeting and field visit meeting

23-24 June 2008, Katmandu, Nepal - Several topics were on the agenda of the third meeting of the Coogee Beach Group (Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Network for Asia-Pacific): the Asia-Pacific Investment Case for MNCH, the possibility of a regional Countdown to 2015 event, opportunities for high-level MNCH advocacy and options for engagement of the Network at country level

The "An Investment Case for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health in Asia and the Pacific" presents analysis to help governments decide where to spend its money by showing: (i) what choices are available, (ii) what the choices will cost, and (iii) the return on investment - both economically and in numbers of deaths averted and DALY’s saved. It was agreed in the meeting that countries will be approached to explore their interest in the development of country-specific investment cases. Nepal and Vietnam have subsequently indicated strong interest.

Meeting and field visit

25-27 June 2008, Katmandu, Nepal - The Network met Nepal's Minister of Health and External Developmental Partners (EDP) to discuss the progress and constraints to achieving MDGs 4 and 5, and a potential role for the Network. The Minister and officials from MOH highlighted the role of Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) in putting Nepal on track for MDG 4 and the need for support for maternal and neonatal programming, human resources for health, and to increase health expenditure to 10% of national budget, and help to convince donor governments to forgive of Nepal’s loans. The EDPs added the need for financial transparency and planning. The MOH accepted the CBG offer to provide technical assistance to develop an investment case for Nepal.

The group was able to make a substantive field visit to Nepalgung which gave an overview of the different levels of the rural health system in Nepal. Human resource and infrastructure needs were demonstrated as barriers to progress for MDG 5 in Nepal. The visit included: sub-health and health posts, 24-hour birthing centres, the district hospital and office, a Mary Stokes clinic, a teaching Medical College Hospital and a drug store. The visits covered the DACAW (district wide community based social mobilization) project, the EAP (equity and access approach) showing how caste and minority status discriminated in regards to maternal health. They saw the ‘Female Community Health Volunteers’ in action. The trip highlighted the good work being done by the 'Watch groups' and 'Mother groups' under the VDC (Village Development Committees).

Mapping of countries

Mapping of general MNCH information for the 68 most affected MNCH countries identified by the Countdown to 2015 is under way. Questionnaires are being sent to the Ministries of Health to gather information about the existence of MNCH plans and/or coordination mechanisms.

Partners' Profiles on web

A mapping exercise is also taking place to track the profile and activities of Partners. These profiles will be shared with all partners and published as a database on The Partnership website. Partners will be asked to complete a special "Partner Profile" on-line questionnaire to enable this comprehensive mapping. Questions are asked regarding partner profile and contacts, activities and areas of intervention at country level as well as technical support capacity. Each member "Contact Focal Point" will receive an email request with a link to the on-line form to be filled out.

Country Support Working Group (CSWG) Updates