Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Common Questions
What is the goal of the Commission?
The UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children aims to increase access to life-saving medicines and health supplies to save and improve the lives of millions of women and children worldwide.
Why do we need a UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children?
Too often, affordable, effective medicines and simple health supplies do not reach the women and children who need them. Some of the common barriers to access include the lack of affordable products, lack of formulations safe for children, weak supply chains, inadequate regulatory capacity at country level to protect people from sub-standard or counterfeit products that can cause harm, and lack of awareness of how, why and when to use these commodities. But recent experiences with products such as vaccines, and programs for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, show that it is possible to overcome many of these barriers, even in the poorest and most isolated communities. In the same way, we can save lives by increasing access to affordable, effective medicines and health supplies like zinc for diarrhoea, antibiotics for pneumonia, contraceptives for preventing unintended pregnancies, and oxytocin for preventing maternal haemorrhage after childbirth. The Commission is comprised of experts and leaders from around the world and they will bring the urgently needed technical and political attention and leadership to these commodities.
What is the structure of the Commission?
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway serve as Co-Chairs of the Commission. Executive Director of UNICEF Anthony Lake and Executive Director of UNFPA Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin serve as Vice-Chairs. Commissioners will be supported by a Secretariat based at UNICEF, and a Technical Working Group. The Working Group will look across the specific technical issues present in a subset of commodities to identify a few major shared or cross-cutting barriers to access that if taken up, could drive change. The working group will consider three main areas of inquiry: Market Shaping, Regulatory Environment, and Best Practices and Innovations. Members will include experts will include government and civil society organizations, private sector, and research/academic entities, and will represent regional and gender diversity.
Who are the commissioners and what do they do?
Commissioners will include leaders from public, private and research/academic entities, representing regional and gender diversity. Commissioners will use their personal advocacy platforms to promote action at the global, national and local level aimed at saving lives. The roster of Commissioners is coming soon.
What commodities is the Commission is examining?
An initial list of 13 essential, overlooked medicines and health supplies in four categories (newborn health, child health, maternal health and reproductive health) will be considered by the Commission in order to understand the main barriers that prevent access to many similar health commodities. Lessons learned from analysis of this initial group of products will be applicable to other essential commodities in future. For more information on the commodities and how they were selected, visit http://everywomaneverychild.org/resources/un-commission-on-life-saving-commodities/life-saving-commodities
What will be the end product of the Commission?
The Commission will produce a set of concrete recommendations for improving the accessibility of affordable, effective commodities for women’s and children’s health, with a focus on the needs of countries where the most women, newborns, and children under five die from preventable causes. By advocating for these recommendations at the highest levels, the Commission will build consensus around priority actions to save and improve the lives of women and children worldwide.
What is the timeframe of the Commission’s work?
The Commission aims to finalize its recommendations for action by June 2012, with a final report released soon thereafter.
What is the connection between the Commission and Every Woman Every Child?
Every Woman Every Child is an unprecedented global movement spearheaded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize and intensify global action to improve the health of women and children around the world. The Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health presents a roadmap on how to do this by enhancing financing, strengthening policy, and improving service on the ground for the most vulnerable women and children. The Commission’s work under the Every Woman Every Child umbrella supports the idea put forth in the Global Strategy: that we can all take action now – together and decisively – to save 16 million lives by the year 2015.