Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

Fifth stakeholder meeting: setting the foundations for post-2015


Opening

Dr Marie Paule Kieny of the World Health Organization opened the first day of the meeting by sharing how the accountability work has moved from a path-finding exercise when it first started to a place where 65 countries are now implementing accountability frameworks. “Accountability is recognised as being central to discussions on maternal, newborn and child health, but also to health in general” she said, urging all partners to continue this work.

Co-conveners Diane Jacovella from the Canadian government and Tore Godal, Special Advisor to the Norwegian Prime Minister on Global Health, echoed this sentiment. Both Canada and Norway announced significant funding for women’s and children’s health at the UN General Assembly’s announcement of a new Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child in September in New York, part of a final push towards achieving the MDGs before the end of 2015, and to buoy the momentum thereafter.

Ms Jacovella spoke of the financing mechanism and reflected on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Women and children are lost in the draft SDGs and we owe it to them to maintain dedication and commitment.” She explained that the new Global Strategy along with the Global Financing Facility presented an opportunity to make a difference and said, “We have a financial mechanism and it is up to us to make sure this mechanism gives us what we want”.

Dr Godal stressed the importance of investing in innovations that can be game changers, as well as the critical role that women play in their countries’ development. Using the Norwegian experience as an example he said, “The role of women in development is amazing and in Norway they are more important to the economy than oil.” All co-conveners stressed that while the new development goals – the SDGs – will address a broader set of issues, it is important not to lose sight of the unfinished business of the MDGs as it refers to maternal and child health.