KIGALI, Rwanda — At a meeting here of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Advocates, key supporters of the health-related MDGs presented an Acceleration Roadmap to save an additional 140,000 women’s and 250,000 newborns’ lives and provide universal access to modern contraceptives. Achieving these is essential to reaching the development goals on maternal and child health by the end of 2015.
The Roadmap to Accelerate Achievement of Maternal and Newborn Survival is available here.
The Roadmap focuses heavily on the 48 hours surrounding childbirth, when the lives of the mother and child are at greatest risk and it is possible to deliver high-impact, cost-effective interventions to both—often by the same health workers at the same time. The Roadmap, spearheaded by a private-public partnership, is an expression of confidence that the health MDGs can be met. It follows last January’s launch at the World Economic Forum, Davos, of the Achievement Roadmap for MDG 4, on reducing child death. The document outlined how the lives of 2.2 million children could be saved by the end of 2015.
“A coalition of United Nations agencies supporting maternal and child health have developed the new Acceleration Roadmap for MDG 5, on maternal health, to enhance support for countries’ work to improve the health of women and girls in the race to meet the MDG deadline of 2015 and beyond,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. “The new Roadmap provides incontrovertible evidence that investing additional resources in proven solutions will provide valuable returns for the health and well-being of women and adolescents.”
Dr. Osotimehin chairs the UN agencies’ coalition working on health, called the H4+. It includes UNFPA, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UN Women and the World Bank.
The world is reducing pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths of women faster than at any other time in history, in large part due to better-trained health workers and midwives, better-integrated health interventions, more funding and sustained political commitment. Global maternal death has almost halved since 1990, from an estimated 523,000 women dying yearly to 289,000 in 2013, according to WHO, UNFPA, World Bank and UNICEF estimates.
The Roadmap’s proposals represent a vision of how well-planned financing, cooperation and coordination can take the maternal health goal across the 2015 finish line and position the world for the ultimate goal of eliminating all preventable maternal and newborn deaths.
“The Acceleration Roadmap challenges leaders focused on maternal and newborn survival to save every life possible in the remaining six quarters until the MDGs expire,” said Ray Chambers, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria. “The global vision of the MDGs has taken us so far, but we need the smart, accelerative interventions detailed in the Roadmap, if we hope to save the precious lives of an additional 140,000 women and 250,000 newborns.”
“With only 20 months left to achieve the MDGs, we must do everything possible to accelerate our progress,” said Erna Solberg, Norway’s Prime Minister. “We must reach the most marginalized, disadvantaged and underserved populations and increase their access to essential information, services and commodities. I congratulate UNFPA and the many partners who have worked together to create a roadmap that will save hundreds of thousands of lives.”
The Roadmap is the result of months of planning by key implementing agencies and funding partners, including UNFPA, UNICEF, Norway, the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities, private-sector companies, including Merck, and leading non-governmental organizations, including Save the Children. This plan follows the September 2013 announcement of $1.15 billion for maternal and child health by the World Bank, UNICEF, USAID and Norway.
These pledges, coupled with the recent World Bank and GAVI replenishments, position country leaders and the global community of donors and implementing organizations to finance the achievement of the health MDGs and build a foundation for continued progress after 2015. In May, a high-level summit focused on saving the lives of vulnerable women and children set the stage for a commitment of $3.5 billion by the Canadian government, and last week USAID announced the reprogramming of $2.9 billion in 24 countries that will save the lives of up to 500,000 children from preventable causes by the end of 2015. Further, at this week’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Partner’s Forum, more funding commitments were made to speed up newborn death reductions in 2015.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
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