Health workers: The unattended resource

Melissa Wanda Kirowo is Advocacy Project Officer with the FCI Program of Management Sciences for Health, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Melissa was nominated for the 120 Under 40 Project by family planning colleagues for her substantial contributions to reproductive health at the national level or local level. Learn more about Melissa’s work and vote here until July 10!

Clementina Ilukol, a Ugandan midwife, and I discuss challenges health workers face everyday.

At Women Deliver 2016 last month, I had the opportunity to talk with one of a number of young midwives attending the conference. Clementina IIukol, a 22 year-old Ugandan midwife, represents the commitment of health care providers as they work, often under very difficult conditions, to provide essential services to women, newborns, children, and adolescents in the communities they serve. “I walk for miles before daybreak,” Clementina told me, “to fetch water for use at the clinic where I work.”

A week after Women Deliver, global health security was the top subject of discussion at the World Health Assembly, as member states recognize that sustainable development will be unattainable if resilient health systems cannot withstand epidemics like the Ebola, MERS, and Zika viruses. Ultimately, global health security requires individual health security; we must not only support rapid detection and response to cross-border infectious disease threats, but we must also guarantee that every individual has access to safe and effective health care. And what this requires, in turn, is an adequate, equitably distributed, skilled, and well-equipped health workforce. Healthcare workers, like Clementina, turn aspirations into actions. They constantly ‘innovate,’ building bridges to work failing health systems so that everyone facing a health emergency can get the treatment they need. Continue reading “Health workers: The unattended resource”

Wilson Center Event | After Mexico City and Before Copenhagen: Keeping Our Promise to Mothers and Newborns

This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) blog.

WC-Dialogue-After-Mexico-City-Before_Copenhagen-768x384

We are excited to announce the upcoming policy dialogue, After Mexico City and Before Copenhagen: Keeping Our Promise to Mothers and Newborns, on Wednesday, April 13 in Washington, DC. This dialogue is part of the Maternal Health Task Force’s Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health Series, in partnership with UNFPA and the Wilson Center. Continue reading “Wilson Center Event | After Mexico City and Before Copenhagen: Keeping Our Promise to Mothers and Newborns”

VIDEO- Countdown to 2015: A decade of tracking progress for maternal, newborn, and child survival

This new video looks at the past and to the future of Countdown to 2015, a global movement of academics, governments, international agencies, health-care professional associations, donors, and nongovernmental organizations to stimulate and support country progress towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Countdown launched its last report of the MDG era—a final accounting of progress and remaining gaps in the 75 countries that have more than 95% of all maternal, newborn and child deaths—at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City.

FCI is proud to be the co-lead communications and advocacy partner in Countdown to 2015.

A Decade of Tracking Progress for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival: Lessons from Countdown to 2015 for monitoring and accountability in the SDG era

By Zulfiqar A. Bhutta and Mickey Chopra

Zulfiqar Bhutta, of the Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children (Canada) and Aga Khan University (Pakistan), and Mickey Chopra, of The World Bank, are co-chairs of Countdown to 2015. This article originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog as part of a series for the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference, October 2015 in Mexico City.

‘Ten years from now, in 2015,’ said the opening line of the first Countdown to 2015 report, published in 2005, ‘the governments of the world will meet to assess if we have achieved the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the most widely ratified set of development goals ever, signed onto by every country in the world.’

Continue reading “A Decade of Tracking Progress for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival: Lessons from Countdown to 2015 for monitoring and accountability in the SDG era”

Sexual and reproductive health and rights beyond 2015: UN concludes negotiations on sustainable development agenda (Arabic)

This article is also available in English, Spanish and French.

أخذت المفاوضات الحكومية الدولية النهائية على جدول أعمال التنمية لما بعد عام 2015 في نيويورك في الفترة من 20-31 يوليو، 2015 وبلغت المناقشات ذروتها في اعتماد “تحويل عالمنا: جدول أعمال 2030 للتنمية المستدامة” من قبل 193 دولة من الدول الأعضاء، مساء الاحد 2 أغسطس بعد فترة طويلة و مفاوضات شاقة.

دعي ممثلي الشبكات الإقليمية للصحة الإنجابية و الجنسية من جميع أنحاء العالم، جنبا إلى جنب مع صندوق الأمم المتحدة للسكان، بلا كلل في هذه المفاوضات – كما لدينا في كل الدورات السابقة التفاوض الحكومية الدولية – لضمان أن جدول أعمال ما بعد 2015 ويضمن حقوق الإنسان، لا سيما من SRHR كل الناس في كل مكان. يجلب المساواة بين الجنسين في صدارة؛ يعترف دور الشباب كعوامل رئيسية من التغيير؛ ويشمل ذلك المشاركة الفعالة للمجتمع المدني في تشكيل التنمية العالمية، على الصعيدين القطري والعالمي.

Continue reading “Sexual and reproductive health and rights beyond 2015: UN concludes negotiations on sustainable development agenda (Arabic)”

Santé et droits sexuels et reproductifs l’après-2015

Disponible en anglais, espagnol et arabe

Les dernières négociations intergouvernementales sur l’élaboration de l’ordre du jour de l’après-2015 se sont tenues à New York du 20 au 31 juillet 2015 et ont abouti à l’adoption par 193 États Membres de Transformer notre monde : Ordre du jour de 2030 pour le développement durable le dimanche 2 août au soir, après de longues négociations difficiles. De concert avec l’UNFPA, les représentants des réseaux régionaux de santé et droits sexuels et reproductifs du monde entier ont infatigablement plaidé durant ces négociations – comme nous l’avons fait au cours de chacune des sessions précédentes des négociations intergouvernementales – pour veiller à ce que l’ordre du jour de l’après-2015 garantisse les droits humains, notamment la santé et les droits sexuels et reproductifs de tous les individus où qu’ils soient, place l’égalité des sexes au premier plan, reconnaisse le rôle des jeunes en tant que principaux agents du changement et inclue la participation active de la société civile à forger le développement mondial, tant au niveau national qu’au niveau international.

Continue reading “Santé et droits sexuels et reproductifs l’après-2015”

La salud y los derechos sexuales y reproductivos después de 2015: ONU concluye las negociaciones de la agenda de desarrollo sostenible

También disponible en ingles, frances y árabe.

Entre el 20 y 31 de julio de 2015, se llevaron a cabo las negociaciones finales entre los gobiernos en torno a la agenda de desarrollo post 2015 en Nueva York. Estas culminaron el domingo 2 de agosto con la adopción del documento de consenso: Transformar nuestro mundo: la agenda de desarrollo sostenible 2030, por parte de 193 Estados Parte, luego largas y arduas negociaciones.

Continue reading “La salud y los derechos sexuales y reproductivos después de 2015: ONU concluye las negociaciones de la agenda de desarrollo sostenible”

Sexual and reproductive health and rights beyond 2015: UN concludes negotiations on sustainable development agenda

This article is also available in Spanish, French, and Arabic.

The final intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda took place in New York July 20-31, 2015 culminating in the adoption of Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by 193 Member States on Sunday evening, August 2 after long and arduous negotiations. Representatives of regional sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) networks from around the world, together with UNFPA, advocated tirelessly at these negotiations–as we have during each of the previous intergovernmental negotiation sessions–to ensure that the post-2015 agenda guarantees human rights, particularly the SRHR of all people everywhere; brings gender equality to the forefront; recognizes young people’s role as key agents of change; and includes the active participation of civil society in shaping global development, both at country and global levels.

Continue reading “Sexual and reproductive health and rights beyond 2015: UN concludes negotiations on sustainable development agenda”

Maternal health takes the spotlight at the World Health Assembly

By Rima Jolivet, Maternal Health Consultant, MHTF

This post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog.

In an important development for the global maternal health community, the long-awaited Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) will be launched at the 68th World Health Assembly, at an event hosted by Cameroon and Malawi and co-sponsored by the contributors to the Every Newborn Action Plan.

This event marks the culmination of over two years of consensus work and collaboration with multiple stakeholders that began in January 2013. The EPMM Working Group—led by the WHO in partnership with MHTF, UNICEF, UNFPA, USAID, Family Care International, Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP), and White Ribbon Alliance—has stewarded the process to gather key inputs and consult widely with a broad range of stakeholders to develop the ambitious yet feasible targets for ending preventable maternal deaths within a generation, and to identify the strategic priorities and actions necessary for achieving this vision. The strategies are presented in full in the EPMM report that has been recently published by the World Health Organization. The EPMM targets were included as part of the Every Newborn Action Plan resolution at last year’s World Health Assembly. Continue reading “Maternal health takes the spotlight at the World Health Assembly”

UNGA week shows maternal and newborn health are central to development challenges

Amy Boldosser-Boesch is the Interim President and CEO at Family Care International. This article originally appeared on the Healthy Newborn Network (HNN) blog.  

CD cover 2This year’s UN General Assembly was full of high-profile moments that reinforced the need for investment and action to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH): the launch of a Global Financing Facility to Advance Women’s and Children’s Health; the release of reports tracking stakeholders’ fulfillment of commitments to Every Woman Every Child; new data on maternal, newborn and child survival from Countdown to 2015; and a plethora of side events focusing on strategies and country progress toward MDGs 4 and 5. For Family Care International, which advocates for improved reproductive, maternal, and newborn health, this unprecedented level of attention to women’s and children’s health is a welcome sign that our advocacy is having an impact, and that global commitment to ending all preventable maternal and child deaths is stronger than ever.

RMNCH was a key theme in many other important discussions during the week, demonstrating the centrality of the health of mothers and newborns to a range of development challenges.

  • Events began with a Climate Summit that brought together leaders from more than 120 countries. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health noted during the Summit that “women and children are the most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate, and those who are more likely to suffer and die from problems such as diarrhoea, undernutrition, malaria, and from the harmful effects of extreme weather events such as floods or drought.”
  • There was a special session to review progress towards achieving the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action. The ICPD agenda highlights the importance of ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and the importance of quality and accessible maternal health care, recognizing that healthy girls and women can choose to become healthy moms of healthy babies.
  • The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting where President Obama called for swift action on the Ebola epidemic that is destroying lives and decimating African health systems. This crisis highlights already-fragile health systems that lack sufficient health workers, supplies, and essential medicines–the same failures that contribute to maternal and newborn mortality. A recent news story details how pregnant women who are not infected with Ebola risk dying in West Africa due to lack of access to maternal health services, and the same risk exists for newborns and young children. The loss of skilled healthworkers, particularly midwives, could have enormous long term impacts on the ability of women, newborns and children to access life-saving care.
  • Finally, the UNGA week included high-level meetings on humanitarian crises in Syria, South Sudan and many other countries. According to the State of the World’s Mothers 2014 report, more than half of all maternal and child deaths occur in crisis-affected places. Discussions of humanitarian response in crisis settings included recognition of the disproportionate impact on women and children of violence, including gender-based violence, displacement, lack of access to food and lack of access to crucial maternal health services and early interventions for newborns. These crises and fragile health systems make achieving the Every Newborn Action Plan recommendations on ensuring quality care for mothers and newborns during labor, childbirth and the first week of life more difficult, but also more critical.

While this long list of world crisis may seem overwhelming, there is some good news on maternal, newborn and child survival. As the UN Secretary-General reminded us, the world is reducing deaths of children under the age of five faster than at any time in the past two decades and significant declines in maternal mortality have occurred in the past 10 years. As the world works together to shape the post-2015 development goals, these experiences during UNGA show that the new agenda must prioritize continuing to address maternal, newborn and child mortality which is linked to many of the world’s pressing development challenges, including poverty. As a recent editorial in The Lancet says, “As governments slowly come to an agreement about development priorities post-2015, it is clear that maternal and newborn health will be essential foundations of any vision for sustainable development between 2015 and 2030.”