Full document: Global Strategy for Women's and Children's health
With just five years left to achieve the Millennium development goals (Mdgs), global leaders must intensify their efforts to improve women’s and children’s health. the world has failed to invest enough in the health of women, adolescent girls, newborns, infants, and children. as a result, millions of preventable deaths occur each year1, and we have made less progress on Mdg 5, improving maternal health, than any other.
Yet we now have an opportunity to achieve real, lasting progress – because global leaders increasingly recognizethat the health of women and children is the key to progress on all development goals.
This global strategy requires that all partners unite and take coordinated action. everyone has an important role to play: governments, civil society, community organizations, global and regional institutions, donors, philanthropic foundations, the united nations and other multilateral organizations, development banks, the private sector, the health workforce, professional associations, academics and researchers.
Saving 16 million lives by 2015
Every year around 8 million children die of preventable causes, and more than 350,000 women die from preventable complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.1 If we bridge the gaps detailed in this document, the gains will be enormous. Reaching the targets for MDG 4 (a two-thirds reduction in under-five mortality) and MDG 5 (a three-quarters reduction in maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health) would mean saving the lives of 4 million children and about 190,000 women in 2015 alone.
In the 49 countries of the world with the lowest income, progress would be incredible. Between 2011 and 2015, we could prevent the deaths of more than 15 million children under five, including more than 3 million newborns. We could prevent 33 million unwanted pregnancies, and about 570,000 women from dying from complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth. A further 88 million children under five would be protected from stunting and 120 million would be protected from pneumonia.
Real progress is entirely possible. In fact, it has already been made in some of the world’s poorest countries, where a high priority has been accorded to women and children within national health agendas.
Meanwhile, innovations in technology, treatment and service delivery are making it easier to provide better and more effective care, and both new and existing financing mechanisms are making care more affordable and accessible. by investing even more in these efforts, we will see major improvements. already, 12,000 fewer children are dying each day than in 1990.2
Focusing on the most vulnerable
This strategy focuses on the time when women and children are most vulnerable. For pregnant women and newborns alike, the greatest risk of death comes during childbirth and in the first few hours and days afterwards. Adolescents are also vulnerable, and we must make sure they’re given control over their life choices, including their fertility
This requires a focus on the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach women and children: the poorest, those living with HIV/AIDS, orphans, indigenous populations, and those living furthest from health services.
Now is the time for all partners to join forces in a concerted effort. This means scaling up and prioritizing a package of high-impact interventions, strengthening health systems, and integrating efforts across diseases and sectors such as health, education, water, sanitation and nutrition. It also means promoting human rights, gender equality and poverty reduction.
All actors should work to optimize current investments. All are accountable for their commitments and need to raise the additional, predictable funding required to deliver basic health services and meet the healthrelated MDGs.