23 May 2018

Progress on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health insufficient to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

2018 Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy Monitoring Report sheds light on new evidence and sets out strategic priorities for action

23 MAY 2018 | Geneva, Switzerland—The 2018 Monitoring Report for the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, was launched today in the margins of the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA71). Produced by the H6 Partnership, the report provides a snapshot of progress to-date, highlighting the latest data available via the WHO’s Global Health Observatory on the 60 indicators of the EWEC Global Strategy’s Indicator and Monitoring Framework.

The report presents new knowledge about the state of the http://www.everywomaneverychild.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/gs-Indicator-and-monitoring-framework.pdfhealth of women, children and adolescents which can accelerate progress, such as new data on the health and causes of death of older children (above 5 years). It highlights the foundational roles of early childhood development and nurturing care, and a life-course approach to health, in delivering health results for everyone everywhere. It also underscores the role of applying such evidence and leveraging innovations to promote change. Building on this data, the report details challenges and new evidence, and outlines strategic priorities to drive collaborative, multi-sectoral action towards change.  The theme for this year’s monitoring report is early childhood development (ECD) based on priorities identified by Member States at the World Health Assembly and by EWEC stakeholders.

“State-of-the-art evidence, as presented in this seminal report, serves as the basis of sound investments, policies and programmes. The United Nations, coordinating through the H6 Partnership, is committed to delivering technical excellence to strengthen country capacity in accelerating and monitoring progress towards our common vision of ensuring the health and rights of women, children and adolescents everywhere,” said Mr. Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Chair of the H6.

While many countries are taking concrete steps to implement the EWEC Global Strategy and meet its objectives, new data indicates that there is still progress to be made. Though the global under-5 mortality rate continues to decline, there is limited progress being made on neonatal mortality, and rates are not declining as quickly among children aged 1 – 59 months. An estimated 5.6 million children, including newborns, died before the age of 5 in 2016; and globally, only 71% of under-5s in reporting countries had their births registered between 2010 and 2016.

Additionally, 830 women still die daily in childbirth or as a result of pregnancy or postpartum causes. Evidence points to a range of other health challenges, including: lack of access to modern contraceptive methods; unsafe abortions; HIV/AIDS; cervical cancer; female genital mutilation.  Gender inequalities further perpetuate poor health and well-being for women and girls around the world.

And with an historic number of adolescents, data shows varying causes of death among younger adolescents (10-14 years) and older adolescents (15-19 years), as well as between boys and girls, indicating the need for greater attention to social determinants of health.

Speaking on the launch of the report, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, said “The findings of this report should serve as a renewed call to action and instill a sense of urgency for action and accountability at all levels. Only if every woman, child and adolescent survives, thrives and contributes to transformative change will we achieve the 2030 SDG vision for people, prosperity and the planet.”

The report was launched on the same day as the new Nurturing Care Framework for early childhood development, which builds upon state-of-the-art evidence about how child development unfolds and details effective policies and interventions that can improve ECD. Scientific evidence over the last three decades has confirmed that ECD lays the foundation for health, learning, productivity and well-being throughout a person’s life. Investments in ECD, newborn care, child and adolescent health and development, and family planning, pregnancy and childbirth care, can yield benefit-to-cost ratios of at least 10-to-1.

The 2018 Global Strategy Monitoring Report will be supplemented by the forthcoming launch of a complementary analysis of progress against EWEC commitments, which is being prepared by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH). Noting the important role of all stakeholders to advance progress against the EWEC Global Strategy and deliver on the ambition of the SDGs, this analysis will highlight progress made across the flagship EWEC commitment platform—currently made up of 69 governments and over 200 multi-stakeholder commitments with pledges valued at nearly $30 billion. It will provide a critical understanding of the role and impact of EWEC’s robust ecosystem of partners that underpin the progress seen in the Monitoring Report, providing a deeper understanding of areas where stronger partner engagement is needed to overcome challenges and key gaps.

It is clearer than ever before that everyone has a critical role to play in improving the health of women, children and adolescents. Only through sustained collective action and accountability can the objectives of the EWEC Global Strategy be achieved.

Other tools and resources:

Access the Global Strategy data portal http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.gswcah

Learn more about the EWEC Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health http://www.everywomaneverychild.org/global-strategy/

Learn more about the Nurturing Care Framework http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/child/nurturing-care-framework/en/