“Time Past and Time Future”: Reviewing and Updating the Global Strategy
Reflecting on the traits of the Global Strategy and the Every Woman Every Child movement, positive attributes such as high level leadership, coordinated advocacy, implementation at the local level, many partners and a commitment to accountability all have contributed to five years of progress. Horton also said that the architects of the Global Strategy have been highly responsive to demand having heeded the requests to create an investment plan, focus on improving access to life-saving commodities, support effort around civil registration and vital statistics, create a financing facility and deepen engagement with adolescents. Still, there is room for improvement, he said. SRHR, unsafe abortions, quality care, inequities and nutrition have not been adequately addressed. Stillbirths in particular with 2.6 million lives lost before birth each year require immediate attention. Reviewing some of the traits of the Every Woman Every Child movement, Horton noted that that leadership in particular was key, and asked that a successor plan be put into place. Further reflection is also required around the transition of COIA, PMNCH, and Countdown so they may remain relevant and strengthened for future work, in particular outside the health sector and around investments for universal health coverage. Quoting T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartet, Horton read, “Time past and time future. What might have been and what has been. Point to one end, which is always present.” We are on the cusp of achieving something spectacular.” Let’s do it today for the next Global Strategy.”
Offering a sneak peek into the Progress Report on the Global Strategy 2010-2015, Nan Kuo, Senior Manager for Every Woman Every Child said the report, entitled Saving Lives Protecting Futures, would be launched by the Secretary-General on 10 March from 10:30-11:45am EST during the Commission on the Status of Women/Beijing+20 review. This Progress Report will present key lessons learned from the Every Woman Every Child multi-stakeholder approach, particularly in areas related to accountability, innovation and public-private partnerships; and showcase the high-level of leadership and political commitment. Overall, she noted that the world has made great progress since the 1990s to reduce the number of children who die before they reach their 5th birthday; millions of lives have been saved and millions more cases of disease prevented. The world now has an unprecedented opportunity: with continued political commitment, funding and strong partnership, she said we can realistically aim to end preventable maternal and child deaths within a generation. But do to do this, we must build on the progress that has already been made and ensure that momentum is maintained, not lost, beyond the end of 2015.
The Global Strategy served as a rallying point for all organizations working to improve health and reduce mortality for women and children. In the five years since the Global Strategy was developed, more than 300 organizations have made commitments to work to improve the health of women and children. As well as encouraging new commitments, the Global Strategy also sets out an accountability framework to help ensure commitments are met and a Commission on Information and Accountability was established to measure progress against the commitments and goals of the strategy, an independent Expert Working Group was set up to monitor progress from an independent perspective she said. Innovation is a central value in the Global Strategy and a research and development pipeline containing up to 1,000 new innovations for maternal and child health has been developed, thanks in large part to the work of the Global Strategy and its Innovation Working Group. Since the launch of the Global Strategy, there has been a slight increase in development assistance for global health; maternal and child health has seen a more substantial increase, she noted. There has been a growing focus on the importance of global partnership and accountability; the work of the Global Strategy and EWEC demonstrates the impact of these approaches, and the Progress Report will lay the rationale and motivation for an updated Global Strategy.
During the discussion, participants stressed that gaps referenced in the presentation needed to be remembered and carried forwarded in the GS 2.0. They asked that the Progress Report not shy away from these shortcomings and suggested that country leadership underpin the basis for the report. Colleagues also noted that in addition to targeting political leaders, they also engage with other segments of society, including parliamentarians, civils society and young people. Others asked that we not “shy away from the hard question,” in particular those around issues areas like stillbirths, sexual health and rights, gender and how to move from mortality to morbidity and survive to thrive.