Keeping our promises to women and children
The breakfast meeting hosted by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) was held prior to the start of the United Nations General Assembly on Sunday the 22nd of September 2013 in New York. It was Co-chaired by Mrs Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary and Mission Director Ministry of Health India and Dr Carole Presern.
Up-to-date information from the Countdown 2015 was presented by Prof Zulfiqar Bhutta who highlighted that 39 of the 75 countries in the Countdown are Muslim presenting a unique challenge with 1.8 billion population, which accouns for 1/4 of the global population. In a Countdown Case Study: Maternal Health in Bangladesh Dr Shams El Arifeen described the factors leading to a 40% reduction in Maternal Mortality.
Dr Neff Walker, Senior Scientist, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health presented on Projecting Newborn and Child Mortality to 2035: Impact of Improving Coverage. His message was that the initiatives and interventions need to be targeted, focused and financed. The PMNCH 2013 Report on Commitments to Global strategy for Women's and Children's Health and the Global Investment Framework for Women and Children were presented by Ms Diana Jacovellla, Foreign Affairs and Development, Canada and Dr Flavia Bustreo ADG WHO respectively.
The highlight of the meeting was the launch of the 2013 Report by the Independent Expert Review Group, by iERG co-Chair Dr Richard Horton. Sobering results indicated that only 17 of the 75 Countdown countries are on target to achieve the MDGs, 34 countries have seen no reduction or an increase in Under5 health so only 9 countries will meet the MDGs.
Dr Margaret Chan, Reflecting on Accountability, highlighted the need for country accountability and remarked that "what gets measured gets done". She later described WHO as "the midwife" to Countdown EWEC and the iERG bringing all parties together. She committed WHO to focusing on violence against women and children