United Nations High Level week in New York - launches a global “big push” campaign and new commitments to maternal and child health
Geneva, 26 September 2012 - The Global Health Workforce Alliance welcomes the pledges of commitment and support expressed at the United Nations High Level Meeting and surrounding events in New York, that place resolving the health workforce crisis at the center of ensuring progress on improving maternal and child health and nutrition. The Alliance has been working closely with its members and partners to raise the profile of HRH.
World leaders reaffirmed their commitment to scale up efforts to prevent maternal and child deaths and launched “The Big Push,” campaign to raise funding support for global health goals. Several events around the city and new reports launched in the run up to the MDG week, highlighted the acute shortage of health workforce and underlined the critical importance of increasing the quality and quantity of health workers to ensure countries are able to address issues of maternal and child nutrition and mortality, better manage infectious diseases and their role in universal health coverage.
At a UN High level Every Woman Every Child evening reception, hosted by the UN Secretary General, Norway and Sweden made new financial commitments to ensure that that maternal and child mortality remains history. Norway committed an extra 115 million dollar in aid from 2013. Dr. Jim Kim, announced the World Bank’s intention to establish a special funding mechanism to enable donors to scale up their funding to meet the urgent needs related to Millennium Development Goals 4 & 5. A new report released by the Partnership for Maternal and child Health, tracking process of the commitments to Global Strategy on Women’s’ and Children’s health, suggests that while the global Strategy has the has led to increased attention being given to the training and recruitment of skilled health workers, particularly skilled birth attendants, the lack of qualified personnel is currently still perceived as a significant barrier to implementation.
Several other events across the city highlighted the role of health workers as instrumental in achieving the MDGs. A UN H4+ agencies event (UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UN Women and the World Bank), highlighted progress and challenges made by countries to meet their commitments to the Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health, H.E. Dr. Christine Kaseba Sata, First Lady of the Republic of Zambia spoke of bottlenecks in the system, in particular, the of lack of human resources. She pointed to solutions, including fast track training programmes for midwives and the need for training centers to cater for larger recruitments.
US based Alliance members Save the Children, the African Medical and Research Foundation, IntraHealth, and Johnson & Johnson hosted a lunch time event which discussed the role that frontline health workers play in safeguarding the health of the most vulnerable people in the world's poorest regions. The event advocated for strategies to train and support more frontline health workers - who are primarily women - as a cost-effective and sustainable solution to global health challenges.
“The Big Push” campaign was launched by the UN, to raise support for global health goals that need support and funding to achieve success “The MDGs have catalyzed global commitments that have saved millions of lives, improved economies exponentially, and united the world in new ways,” said Ray Chambers, the UN Secretary-General’s MDG Advocate and Special Envoy for Malaria. “With the finishing line in sight, any slowdown now would undo years of progress - instead we need a big push to get us there, and there is no reason we can’t do it.”
The Global Health Workforce Alliance welcomes the pledges of commitment and support expressed in New York, that place resolving the health workforce crisis at the center of ensuring progress on improving maternal and child health and addressing killer diseases.