Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Legal & regulatory assessment for newborn & child policy survey

Purpose

Legislation can and must be seen as an important vehicle towards ensuring the promotion and protection of children's human rights, including those related to health. Information and experiences from some countries indicate that legal protection can be a powerful contributor to improved and more equitable health outcomes for children. However, further technical assistance is required to understand the practical importance of laws and regulations in relation to newborn and child health.

To this extent, MCA is developing a rights-based assessment tool for national legal and regulatory frameworks in support of improved quality of care for newborns and young children. The tool aims to assist countries in reviewing an analysing the existence and quality of national legal and regulatory frameworks as they relate to newborn and child health; assess the extent to which countries consider issues of child survival as justiciable, and whether opportunities exist for redress; explore sustainable and multi-sectoral actions needed to overcome identified legal and regulatory gaps and barriers; and assist in effective implementation and monitoring of agreed upon actions.

Achievements to date

While efforts to strengthen domestic legal and regulatory frameworks in relation to women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health have traditionally focused on sexual and reproductive health, and adolescent health, the importance of ensuring an enabling legal, regulatory and policy environment to protect and improve young children’s health has been emphasized in a number of documents, recently adopted by UN human rights mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council and the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and supported by WHO.

Based on relevant recommendations set forth in these documents, we have initiated the development of an assessment tool, as described above. In addition, the relevance and need for development of tools to assist countries in analysing their legal and regulatory environment was reiterated in a WHO/OHCHR expert meeting on human rights and under-five mortality and morbidity, held in June 2017.

Future plans

  • Review of the draft legal and regulatory assessment tool with legal and child health experts;
  • Finalization of the draft tool and validation in selected countries;
  • Development of briefs on the role of law and regulations in protecting and improving child health for legislators, health policy makers and health practitioners.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Marcus Stahlhofer: stahlhoferm@who.int