What is Every Woman Every Child ?

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit in September 2010, Every Woman Every Child aims to save and improve the lives of millions of women, children and adolescents around the world. It is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector, research and academia, and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents everywhere. At its inception, the movement put into action the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (2010 -2015), a five year road map to improve the health of women and children.

Building on the success of the Strategy, in September 2015 the UN Secretary General launched an updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016 -2030), which will continue to underpin the Every Woman Every Child movement and puts into action a road map alligned with the Sustainable Development Goals for ending all preventable deaths and improving the overall health and well-being of women, children, and adolescents by 2030.

What is the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health?

The Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health, 2016-2030 is a roadmap for ending all preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, including stillbirths, by 2030, and improving the overall health and well-being of women, children, and adolescents. It builds on the first Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health launched by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2010, which galvanized political leadership, attracted billions of dollars, and created Every Woman Every Child, a powerful multistakeholder movement for health. Since that time, millions of lives were saved and progress towards the health MDGs was accelerated.

The updated Global Strategy builds on the successes and lessons of the previous strategy, but is broader and more ambitious. It is fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is based on the evidence of what is needed and what works. The Global Strategy has several important new and enhanced areas of focus, including:

  • Equity—a stronger focus on reaching the most vulnerable and leaving no one behind;
  • Universality—including an explicit focus on humanitarian and fragile settings;
  • Adolescents—the “SDG generation”;
  • Life-course approach—health and well-being interconnected at every age;
  • Multisector—enhancing collaboration with nutrition, education, water, sanitation, hygiene and infrastructure.

Why has the Global Strategy been developed?

The era of the MDGs witnessed dramatic and unprecedented progress in reducing child and maternal deaths. Deaths of children under the age of five decreased by 49% compared to 1990, and maternal deaths decreased by 47%. But despite progress, much remains to be done. Far too many women, children and adolescents worldwide still have little or no access to clean water, adequate sanitation, good nutrition, and essential, good-quality health services and are unable to participate fully in society. As a result, 6.3 million children under the age of five, 289,000 women, 2.8 million newborns, 2.6 million stillborns and 1.3 million adolescents die needlessly each year. Many more suffer illness and disability, fail to reach their full potential and face barriers to participating fully in society—resulting in enormous loss and costs for countries today and for future generations.

That is why this Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Heallth is so essential. It aims to urgently complete the unfinished work of the MDGs, address inequities within and between countries, strengthen fragile health systems, and help countries begin implementing the 2030 Agenda without delay. The Global Strategy aims to keep women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health at the top of the political agenda and at the heart of the SDGs.

Who is the Global Strategy for?

The Global Strategy is intended to inspire and support country-led action, so politicians, policy-makers and leaders from all stakeholder groups are its primary audience. Key partners include health professional associations, civil society, academic institutions, multilateral and bilateral agencies, foundations, and the private sector. The Global Strategy provides a platform to guide greater integration among actors in the health sector and with other sectors such as nutrition, education, water, hygiene and sanitation, and infrastructure.

The Global Strategy is also a roadmap for all people—women, children and adolescents, their families and communities—to claim their rights by driving change and holding leaders to account.

What are the main pillars of the Global Strategy?

The Global Strategy is aligned with development effectiveness and humanitarian norms, and is built on the guiding principles of country leadership, human rights, community ownership and accountability. The Strategy sets out three objectives to be achieved by 2030:

  • SurviveEnd preventable deaths;
  • ThriveEnsure health and well-being;
  • TransformExpand enabling environments.

These are in line with the SDGs, building on globally agreed goals and targets of specific strategies and action plans, many of which have been endorsed by Member States at the World Health Assembly in recent years.

How was this Global Strategy created?

More than 7000 individuals and organizations informed the drafting process of the Global Strategy through a global consultation exercise supported by Every Woman Every Child. The World Health Assembly 2015 and regional meetings hosted by the Governments of India, Vietnam and South Africa were important occasions for consultation. Experts contributed to developing technical papers that will be published in the British Medical Journal providing an evidence base for the Global Strategy. Many stakeholders also participated in public consultations organized by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. Details of the consultation process and technical inputs are available at: www.womenchildrenpost2015.org.

Next steps following the launch of the Global Strategy

The Global Strategy was formally launched at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2015. An Operational Framework was developed to accompany the Global Strategy for the first five years (2016-2020), to be continually updated through 2030. Building on ongoing efforts and existing structures, the Operational Framework informs support to countries as they develop and refine their plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health based on country-identified needs and priorities. Other stakeholders can also use it as a guide to align their actions in support of countries. The Operational Framework was developed in consultation with governments, civil society, the private sector, international agencies, and other constituencies and partners.

Who is responsible for implementing the Global Strategy?

The Global Strategy can only be implemented through collective action and collaborative effort: everyone has a critical role to play. Governments and national leaders will own and drive this process in countries, developing investment and implementation plans, and building the multistakeholder platforms needed to achieve national targets. Countries will be supported by many partners under the Every Woman Every Child umbrella in three main areas: technical support for planning and implementation, financing, and advocacy. Globally, the United Nations Secretary-General leads the Every Woman Every Child movement and will be supported by a High-Level Advisory Group.

How can I make a commitment to the Global Strategy?

All partners and stakeholders are invited to make commitments in support of the Global Strategy. Commitments can be financial or non-financial and made by individual institutions or multi-partner coalitions. Commitments should aim to have clear measurable expected impacts, and each commitment maker will be required to report annually on progress. All commitments advancing the goals outlined in the Global Strategy are encouraged, in particular those which are sustainable, innovative and have a long term focus. Guidance and an application form for making commitments is available here on the Every Woman Every Child website.

What resources are available?

The Every Woman Every Child website, www.everywomaneverychild.org, is a resource hub for knowledge and advocacy tools linked to the Global Strategy. Website content includes background information on the development of the Global Strategy, a compendium of worldwide commitments to the Global Strategy, news about national, regional and global events, a calendar of upcoming events, resources including recent publications and advocacy toolkits, and links to networks and initiatives that are aligned with the Global Strategy.

How can you contribute?

Everyone has a critical role to play in improving the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents everywhere.

Governments and policymakers at local, national, regional and global levels must:
  • Develop prioritized national health plans and approve and allocate more funds
  • Ensure resources are used effectively
  • Strengthen health systems, including the health workforce, monitoring and evaluation systems and local community care
  • Introduce or amend legislation and policies in line with the principles of human rights, linking women’s and children’s health to other areas (diseases, education, water and sanitation, poverty, nutrition, gender equity and empowerment)
  • Encourage all stakeholders (including academics, healthcare organizations, the private sector, civil society, health-care workers and donors) to participate and harmonize their efforts
  • Work with the private sector to ensure the development and delivery of affordable, essential medicines and new technologies for health
Donor countries and global philanthropic institutions must:
  • Provide predictable long-term support (financial and programmatic) in line with national plans and harmonized with other partners
  • Advocate for focusing global health priorities on women and children
  • Support research efforts
The United Nations and other multilateral organizations must:
  • Define norms, regulations and guidelines to underpin efforts to improve women’s and children’s health, and encourage their adoption
  • Help countries develop and align their national health plans
  • Work together and with others to strengthen technical assistance and programmatic support, helping countries scale up their interventions and strengthen their health systems, including health-care workers and community level care
  • Encourage links between sectors and integration with other international efforts (such as those on education and gender equality), including harmonizing reporting
  • Support systems that track progress and identify funding gaps
  • Generate and synthesize research-derived evidence, and provide a platform for sharing best practices, evidence on cost-effective interventions and research findings
Civil society must:
  • Develop and test innovative approaches to delivering essential services, especially ones aimed at the most vulnerable and marginalized
  • Educate, engage and mobilize communities
  • Track progress and hold all stakeholders (including themselves) accountable for their commitments
  • Strengthen community and local capabilities to scale up implementation of the most appropriate interventions
  • Advocate increased attention to women’s and children’s health and increased investment in it
The business community must:
  • Scale up best practices and partner with the public sector to improve service delivery and infrastructure
  • Develop affordable new drugs, technologies and interventions
  • Invest additional resources, provide financial support and reduce prices for goods
  • Ensure community outreach and mobilization, coordinated with health care workers
Health care workers and their professional associations must:
  • Provide the highest quality care, grounded in evidence-based medicine, share best practice, test new approaches, use the best tools possible and audit clinical practice
  • Collaborate to provide universal access to the essential package of interventions, addressing the needs of the vulnerable and marginalized
  • Identify areas where services could be improved and innovations made
  • Ensure that women and children are treated with respect and sensitivity when they receive health care
  • Advocate better training, deployment and retention of workers
  • Work with academics responsible for training and continuing education
  • Provide information to track progress and hold authorities and donors to account
Academic and research institutions must:
  • Deliver a prioritized and coordinated research agenda
  • Encourage increased budget allocation for research and innovation
  • Build capacity at research institutions, especially in low- and middle-income countries
  • Strengthen the global network of academics, researchers and trainers
  • Help policy development by reporting on trends and emerging issues
  • Disseminate new research findings and best practice