PMNCH was launched in September 2005 when 80 organizations belonging to the Partnership for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health, the Healthy Newborn Partnership and the Child Survival Partnership joined forces. By uniting and working as one partnership they could do more to accelerate action by partners and countries to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 (reduce child mortality) and 5 (improve maternal health). The need was great: in 2005, more than 10 million children aged under 5 years were dying each year from largely preventable causes and more than half a million women a year were dying needlessly during childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes.
The vision and goals of the new Partnership were outlined in "The Delhi Declaration" – a landmark statement developed by participants of "Lives in the Balance: The Partnership Meeting for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health", held in New Delhi, India, 7-9 April 2005.
In its first decade, PMNCH’s mandate was to strengthen alignment and build consensus about priority interventions to achieve MDGs 4 and 5. These efforts were bolstered in 2010 when the PMNCH platform facilitated the content of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and galvanizing tangible commitments from partners, governments and the public for the attainment of MDGs 4 and 5.
In 2015, the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health was launched to reflect the shift from the MDGs to the Sustainable Development Goals. The updated Global Strategy, which has guided PMNCH’s work since 2016, takes a more holistic view of health, moving beyond survival to well-being and social transformation.