Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Partnering for results: delivering for Every Woman & Every Child

Main Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) event caps off a big week for women and children’s health, including new financial commitments.

Photo credit: Stuart Ramson, United Nations Foundation

25 September 2014, New York -- At the largest of the week’s EWEC events during the UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded the EWEC movement as a “ground-breaking partnership model” and declared that “in today’s troubled world, our progress in this area shines brightly.” The event brought together a wide range of stakeholders to review the successes of the EWEC partnership and re-energize the community for the post-2015 period.

And indeed, the energy in the room was palpable. Participants at the high-level panel on RMNCAH financing included Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Canada, Prime Minister Erna Solberg from Norway, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim who jointly made the welcome announcement of 4 billion dollars to kick-start a new global financing facility (GFF) to accelerate progress on the MDGs 4&5 and bring an end to preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.

It is envisioned that the GFF will bring together many of the current RMNCHAH funding streams in an attempt to harmonize efforts, streamline financing procedures, and reduce transaction costs and reporting burden for countries.

“accountability has moved from obscurity to prominence, gone from ‘no’ to ‘do’.”

Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General

The initial bilateral contributions announced by the high level speakers to the GFF were of 600 million from Norway and 200 million dollars from Canada. Dr Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID reiterated the United States’ support for to this initiative in order to “accomplish something meaningful.” He stressed that President Obama took his commitment to the Muskoka Initiative very seriously, and that maternal and child health remain a development priority. By aligning USAID’s support through complementary mechanisms (innovative financing and public-private partnerships), the US contribution will bring an additional 200-400 million dollars to the GFF.

The initial funding is expected to leverage approximately 3.2 billion dollars from the World Banks’s International Development Association (IDA) funds, for a total of over 4 billion dollars to support RMNCAH interventions at country level.

Photo credit: Stuart Ramson, United Nations Foundation

Accountability for resources and results was a recurring theme throughout the event and the main subject of one of the panels. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan joined PM Harper of Canada to remind the audience that through the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (CoIA), “accountability has moved from obscurity to prominence, gone from ‘no’ to ‘do’.” She emphasized the absolutely critical role of leadership – at the global level, but especially at country level – and said that this was one of the most important lessons of CoIA. Dr Chan urged others to remember this lesson as we all consider how to “emulate the success of accountability for post-2015.”

An important part of the current and future accountability work is to accelerate progress on civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). Although there has been more progress on CRVS in the last three years than in the past three decades, the fact that over half of babies born today are not registered clearly signals that there is much left to be done. Prime Minister Stephen Harper had earlier announced that half of Canada’s 200 million contribution to the GFF would be specifically for CRVS, and as the moderator of the accountability panel, he reiterated that this would be a focus for the next phase of Canada’s work.

The EWEC event capped a very successful week for women’s and children’s health with a multitude of high-level events, strong shows of political commitment, and funding announcements. The financial announcements at the EWEC event were the culmination of a week of announcements for RMNCAH:

  • On the same day, during the 4th Annual Every Woman Every Child Private Sector Lunch , over 69 million dollars was pledged by both private and public entities for innovations for maternal and child health. Commitments towards the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health were announced from: Philips, Medtronic Foundation, Medela, General Electric, Reliance Foundation, Novo Nordisk, BSR-GAIN, Royal DSM, GSK, GSMA, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers Foundation and Nike Foundation.
  • The previous day at the H4+ breakfast event, Swedish Minister of International Development Hillevi Maria Engström announced that Sweden expects to contribute 2.2 billion dollars to RMNCH from 2015-2010, with 400 million dollars to accelerate progress toward MDG 4 & 5 and with a special focus in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
  • On Monday, the Danish and Dutch governments, along with the David and Lucile Packard and William and Flora Hewlett foundations, announced Amplify Change, a 15 million euros fund to support small civil society organizations across sub-Saharan African and South Asia working to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people, especially girls.