Message from the Chair: first meeting of the iERG
November 23, 2011
Ottawa, ON Canada
Welcome to the first news update from the independent Expert Review Group, created earlier this year by the UN Secretary General to follow up the work of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health and the Commission on Information and Accountability. We have a four-year lifespan and our first report will be delivered to the UN General Assembly in September, 2012.
Let me first introduce you to the team.
Carmen Barroso's experiences during Brazil's emergence from dictatorship shaped her life-long commitment to human rights, civil society, and social change. She has dedicated her life to realising sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women and girls. She leads the Western Hemisphere Region of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, having successfully directed the MacArthur Foundation's Population and Reproductive Health Program for over a decade.
Zulfiqar Bhutta is a Professor and Founding Chair of Women's and Children's Health at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. His contributions to our understanding of maternal and child health have been prodigious. His publication and awards achievements are second to none. He currently co-chairs the Countdown to 2015 initiative, and he is a Board member of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. He is one of our most successful scientific ambassadors for women's and children's health today.
Dean Jamison is an outstanding economist of his generation. He is currently Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington. He also holds academic appointments in China and Australia. Of the many initiatives he has led, at least two have changed the way we think about health and development. His World Development Report in 1993 for the first time made the economic case for investing in health. And the Disease Control Priorities Project helps countries allocate their limited resources far more rationally.
Joy Phumaphi co-chairs the iERG. She is a member of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health and the Global Vaccine Council, as well as being Executive Secretary of ALMA. She has had cabinet responsibility in Botswana for Lands and Housing, and subsequently for health. She has led WHO's work on women's and children's health as an Assistant Director-General. Recently, she served as Vice-President at the World Bank's Human Development Network. Joy's focus is on healthy human capital and measuring results.
Marleen Temmerman spans two very different worlds with skill and achievement. She is a professor in obstetrics and gynaecology and Founding Chair of the International Centre for Reproductive Health at Ghent University in Belgium. In 2007 she was elected a Senator in the Belgian Parliament. Her special interest is reproductive health and rights, and she is especially concerned about the global neglect of family planning. She is a strong advocate for greater political engagement by the health community, and she vigorously supports and actively participates in the work of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Miriam Were is Kenyan. Her work and reputation as an academic and public health advocate and activist were recognised by her receipt of the first and prestigious Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize. Her particular commitment is to community empowerment. She has held leadership positions across government, the UN system, and academia. She continues to express justified shock by the degree to which Africa continues to face such appalling health problems and extremely high mortality for mothers and children.
And, lastly, my name is Richard Horton, and I work at a medical journal, The Lancet. Since 2003, we have published series on maternal, newborn, and child health, focused on low and middle income settings. More recently, we have broadened this work to include the related issues of nutrition, primary health care, health information systems, child development, stillbirths, TB, vaccines, social determinants of health, and the right to health. I hope this work, produced by hundreds of great scientists and public health workers, has helped to shape our modern hopes and expectations for women and children.