Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

New funding announced for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health at H4+ Breakfast

H4+ partners pledge to continue to work together for women’s and children’s health. Sweden announces 400 million dollars towards MDGs 4 & 5 with a special focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and an expected contribution of 2.2 billion dollars for RMNCH for 2015-2020.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director General speaking
Photo credit: Arnold Brower

24 September 2014, New York - Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Development from Sweden and Canada, Ministers of Health from Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the heads of WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, UNAIDS, and the Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice lead from the World Bank gathered on Wednesday in New York to pledge their continued commitment to achieving results for RMNCH.

Swedish Minister of International Development Hillevi Maria Engström announced that Sweden plans to contribute 2.2 billion dollars of new funding for RMNCH for the 2015-2020 period, with 400 million dollars with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which will continue to be a priority area for Sweden moving into the post-2015 period. This financial announcement built upon the 3.5 billion dollars of new funding announced for RMNCH by Canada at the Saving Every Woman and Every Child summit hosted by the country in May this year.

as a global community, we must ensure that “children are not only surviving, but staying healthy”

H. Maria Engström, Swedish Minister of International Development

Minister Engström emphasized that, as a global community, we must ensure that “children are not only surviving, but staying healthy” – a theme that has been reiterated throughout the first week of the UN General Assembly. She also stressed that to be truly successful, the global community must invest in other sectors that have an enormous impact on health, including education, infrastructure, and gender equality.

Indeed, the recently published 'Success factors for women’s and children’s health' study series highlighted that some 50 percent of the reduction in under-five child mortality in those countries is attributable to high impact health interventions such as early immunizations and skilled birth attendance, but the remaining 50 percent is due to factors outside the health sector, such as girls’ education, women’s participation in politics and the workforce, reduction of fertility rates, access to clean water and sanitation, economic development and political commitment.

Like Minister Engström, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development, Christian Paradis, also emphasized the human rights dimension of the work to reduce maternal and child health. He described civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) as the “legal basis for the realization of human rights” and urged more action in this area to also be able to better track progress and results.

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, added to this, noting that civil registration is what enables a child to access services, and that data collected through CRVS systems is absolutely essential in measuring results. Dr. Chan noted, however, that just having the data was not enough. Data, she insisted, must be disaggregated “to show the inequalities that are hidden by averages.”

Ministers of Health from Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, and DRC described how they have worked with H4+ partners and have taken leadership to achieve results, even with limited resources. Minister Admasu from Ethiopia underscored the importance of country ownership and the need for all partners to align behind a national plan. Minister Coffie from Côte d’Ivoire emphasized the equity dimension. She said that while countries must strive for universality of health coverage, they must also ensure that they are targeting the most vulnerable, as Cote d’Ivoire has done by targeting eight districts with the highest mortality.

As discussions move forward for the post-2015 RMNCH landscape, H4+ partners recommitted to continue to work together for results, to track and measure progress, and most importantly, to play a supporting role to countries who must clearly be in the driving seat to improve the lives of their women and children.