UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities

for Women's and Children's Health


  • 1. Shaping Global Markets
    By 2013, effective global mechanisms such as pooled procurement and aggregated demand are in place to increase the availability of quality, life-saving commodities at an optimal price and volume.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 2. Shaping Local Delivery Markets
    By 2014, local health providers and private sector actors in all EWEC countries are incentivized to increase production, distribution and appropriate promotion of the 13 commodities.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 3. Innovative Financing
    By the end of 2013, innovative, results-based financing is in place to rapidly increase access to the 13 commodities by those most in need and foster innovations.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 4. Quality Strengthening
    By 2015, at least three manufacturers per commodity are manufacturing and marketing quality-certified and affordable products.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 5. Regulatory Efficiency
    By 2015, all EWEC countries have standardized and streamlined their registration requirements and assessment processes for the 13 live-saving commodities with support from stringent regulatory authorities, the WHO and regional collaboration.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 6. Supply and Awareness
    By 2015, all EWEC countries have improved the supply of life-saving commodities and build on information and communication technology (ICT) best practices for making these improvements.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 7. Demand and Utilization
    By 2014, all EWEC countries in conjunction with the private sector and civil society have developed plans to implement at scale appropriate interventions to increase demand for and utilization of health services and products, particularly among under-served populations.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 8. Reaching Women and Children
    By 2014, all EWEC countries are addressing financial barriers to ensure the poorest members of society have access to the life-saving commodities.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 9. Performance and Accountability
    By end 2013, all EWEC countries have proven mechanisms such as checklists in place to ensure that health-care providers are knowledgeable about the latest national guidelines.
    See All Recommendations 
  • 10. Product Innovation
    By 2014, research and development for improved life-saving commodities has been prioritized, funded and commenced.
    See All Recommendations 

The UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women's and Children's Health was formed in 2012 as part of the Every Woman Every Child movement to increase access and use of essential medicines, medical services and health supplies that effectively address causes of death during pregnancy, childbirth and into childhood.

Watch an introductory video about the Commission >

Too often, affordable, effective medicines and simple health supplies do not reach the women and children who need them most. The most common barriers that prevent women and children from receiving appropriate interventions include the insufficient supply of high quality health commodities where they are most needed; the inability to effectively regulate the quality of these commodities; and the lack of access and awareness on how and when to use them.

The Commission presented its report to the UN Secretary General in September 2012. It identified a set of 13 essential commodities across the maternal, reproductive, neonatal and child health continuum of care, and made ten recommendations for how to get those commodities to those who need them most. The Commission estimated that, if more widely accessed and properly used, these commodities could save the lives of over 6 million women and children. This would catalyze and accelerate the reduction in deaths for women and children.

The Commission's report makes recommendations on how to address these barriers and to achieve the following for each of the 13 commodities: (1) Improved markets for life-saving commodities; (2) Improved national delivery of life-saving commodities; and (3) Improved integration of private sector and consumer needs.

The Commission is chaired by the former Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, and President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin serve as Vice-Chairs. See the composition of the Commission here.

Technical Reference Teams (TRTs) are carrying the Commission's recommendations forward at the global and national levels.  Each team a consortium of global experts, comprising representatives from UN agencies, NGOs, government partners and academic institutions – are supporting countries in their efforts to implement the Commission’s recommendations and address global and regional RMNCH challenges. There are nine TRTs, focusing on reproductive; maternal; newborn; and child health; demand and performance; global markets, quality and regulations; local supply chains and markets; and m-health and ICT; and advocacy.