Women, newborns, children, and adolescents: life-saving momentum after a slow start


A $12 billion head start for the future

A boy from Haiti during vaccination week in the Americas

In July 2015, the UN, the World Bank Group and the governments of Canada, Norway and the USA launched the Global Financing Facility to support the revised Every Woman Every Child strategy, drawing an initial US$ 12 billion in financial commitments.

The Facility was designed to act as a pathfinder in a new era of financing for development by pioneering a model that shifts away from a principal reliance on official development assistance to an approach that combines external support, domestic financing and innovative sources for resource mobilization in a value-added way. The overarching objective is to build long-term domestic financing as the principal route to fiscal sustainability.

Building on the approach used by the International Health Partnership Plus, the Facility uses a financing platform that is country-driven and country-owned. Countries develop their own roadmap for improving the health of women and children, and their own financing, implementation and accountability frameworks. The frameworks, in turn, operate to harmonize funding from multiple initiatives, align joined-up funds around a single investment case, and simplify coordination.

"Existing health systems and infrastructures must be strengthened through the way financial support is channeled, and not circumvented by the creation of parallel systems run by development partners."

Dr Chan, WHO Director-General

The Facility has been hailed as a visionary leap forward for financing health development in the era of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It views the focus on maternal, newborn and child health as an entry point for moving towards universal health coverage with people-centred integrated services that follow a life-course approach and offer a continuum of care.

Its emphasis on capacity building is reflected in the principle of building on what is already working in the country, underscoring another key lesson from the Countdown monitoring reports. In other words, existing health systems and infrastructures must be strengthened through the way financial support is channelled, and not circumvented by the creation of parallel systems run by development partners.

Finally, the Facility recognizes that the broad determinants of women’s and children’s health require multisectoral collaboration to improve education, nutrition, water supply, sanitation, and gender equality – health determinants that all have targets under the Sustainable Development Goals.