NORWAY’S PRIME Minister Erna Solberg, has called for global focus on women and children’s health, and identification of targets for healthy women and children for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
Prime Minister Solberg said though globally good progress have been made on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), “more can and must be done within the 500 days until the MDGs deadline, and time is of the essence to scale up our efforts on behalf of women, children and adolescents.”
The Norwegian Prime Minister stated this at a panel discussion by Advocate Group of Eminent personalities at the on-going 2014 Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) Partners’ Forum, in South Africa.
The Panel discussed several new reports released at the Forum, including the Countdown to 2015 report for 2014, which tracks progress in the 75 countries that account for the vast majority of maternal and child deaths, and the Success Factors for Women’s and Children’s Health report, which analyzes 10 countries that have made rapid progress toward the MDGs.
Ms Graça Machel Chair of PMNCH, said across the world, the rights of women and girls continued to be grossly violated, and the burden of poverty on women has ever been present.
“Every woman should have access to resources and gain space to assert her aspirations. Nobody should die in child birth. All girls should go to school with their brothers and master the tools for a productive life,” she added.
Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of World Health Organsiation, called for the new sustainable development agenda to be rights-based, equity focused and to place healthy women, children and adolescents at its core.
The panel called for the new framework, which would be debated by the United Nations General Assembly in September, to focus on ending preventable maternal, newborn and child mortality, and to ensure sexual and reproductive rights, including universal access to quality sexual and reproductive services.
Since 1990, both maternal and child mortality have halved, and 50 million more children go to school each year.
But many challenges remain, and further rapid progress on health outcomes will require addressing the multiple determinants of health. For instance, every year 14 million girls are forced into marriage, and in many countries, women and girls still do not have access to adequate education.
Dr Philippe Douste-Blazy, United Nations Special Advisor on Innovative Financing for Development, noted that “we proved that Innovative Financing can help us to reach the MDGs and new partners are uniting in South Africa to commit energy and resources towards innovation and saving lives.”
Dr. Carole Presern, Executive Director of PMNCH, expressed satisfaction at events and said: “Today, we leave with renewed energy to make sure that women, newborns, children and adolescents do not die from easily preventable causes; that sexual and reproductive health and rights are respected and that everyone, everywhere should be able to look forward to a healthy, happy and productive life.”
The PMNCH, co-hosted by the government of South Africa is a partnership of 625 organizations from seven constituencies: governments, multilateral organizations, donors and foundations, nongovernmental organizations, healthcare professional associations, academic, research and training institutions, and the private sector.
The vision of the Partnership is the achievement of the MDGs, with women and children enabled to realize their rights to the highest attainable standard of health in the year 2015, and beyond.
The forum being attended by over 800 health experts and public health officials, would also be reviewing new data, and call for accelerated action to improve maternal, newborn and child birth.
The high-level panel of the MDG Advocate group of eminent personalities tasked by WHO, are working to focus attention on the need to deliver on the vision for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to end poverty by 2030.