Saving the Lives of 16 Million MAY 2012

In Focus: Accountability in Women’s and Children’s Health, the World Health Assembly, and Recommendations on Life-Saving Commodities


Accountability in Women’s and Children’s Health

New commitments in support of Every Woman Every Child represent a major step towards saving the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. Accountability is crucial to ensuring that these commitments are measured and tracked for maximum results.  

To that end, the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health (COIA) made ten recommendations in its report Keeping Promises, Measuring Results. Through these recommendations, COIA created a system to track whether donations are made on time, resources are spent wisely and transparently, and desired results are achieved. COIA also recommended establishing an independent Expert Review Group (iERG). The iERG was set up in September 2011 and will suggest measures to improve effectiveness in the accountability process via regular reports to the UN Secretary-General from 2012 to 2015.

The iERG is currently seeking information from partners to help illustrate accountability through implementation of commitments. Learn more and submit evidence. On May 24th they will hold an open consultation with stakeholders. Register online.

All partners are encouraged to submit photos, stories, and other materials showcasing on-the-ground progress of commitment implementation to be featured on the Every Woman Every Child website.

iERGThe iERG meets in Ottawa. From left to right: Dr. Marleen Temmerman, Dr. Richard Horton, Mrs. Joy Phumaphi, Dr. Carmen Barroso, Dr. Dean Jamison, Dr. Miriam Were. Not pictured: Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta. ©ACDI-CIDA/ Patrick Doyle

The World Health Assembly

Discussions at the sixty-fifth session of the World Health Assembly, Geneva, 21-26 May, will focus on a number of public health issues including universal health coverage, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), non-communicable diseases, mental illness, nutrition and adolescent pregnancy. The Assembly will also consider the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), as well as resolution which declares polio eradication a programmatic emergency for global public health. Learn more about this year's World Health Assembly. Learn more about Every Woman Every Child and vaccines, including those that contribute to polio eradication.

UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities to Agree Upon Recommendations

Representatives from the United Nations, the private sector, governments, philanthropy, academia and civil society will meet for the final time on May 22 under the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. The Commission will agree upon 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. Learn more


In this Issue

Accountability in Women’s and Children’s Health, the World Health Assembly, and Recommendations on Life-Saving Commodities

Updates from April

Partner Spotlight: India

News and Opinion



Calendar of Events


A monthly roundup of pertinent resources. Please submit your recent reports via email for consideration.

Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth

A Systematic Review of the Interconnections between Maternal & Newborn Health

The New Global Health Agenda: Universal Health Coverage

Read More Publications and Resources »

Quote of the Month

"When we invest in malaria control, we invest in  communities…On World Malaria Day, let us remember that when we fight malaria, we also tackle poverty to offer people a better life. But to achieve this, we need to work together. "

Princess Astrid of Belgium, delivering remarks at the World Malaria Day event at the World Malaria Day NETworking Reception at the United Nations .

Calendar of Events

May 3 - 4
MDG Review Exhibition and Summit 2012: The power of business as one of the solutions to the MDG challenges

May 5
International Day of the Midwife

May 7 - 11
2nd Global Conference on Food Security, Agriculture and Climate Change

May 7 - 18
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

May 9 - 11
World Economic Forum on Africa 2012

May 15 - 27
38th G8 Summit in Chicago

May 19
Joint meeting of the Pan-African Parliament Bureaus, Johannesburg

May 21 - 25
65th World Health Assembly in Geneva

May 21 - June 1
Second Parliament, Sixth Ordinary Session, Pan-African Parliament, Johannesburg

May 22
Meeting of the Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, New York

May 22
International Day of Biodiversity (theme: marine ecosystems)

May 30 - June 1
World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012: Shaping the Region’s Future through Connectivity

May 31
World No Tobacco Day

End of May
Women Deliver Regional Consultation, Bangkok

View full calendar »


Updates from April 

In India, UN Secretary-General Calls for Greater Investment in Women's and Children's Health  In April, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited India to promote the well-being of women and children and work with national leaders to build support for women’s and children’s health. He was joined by the UN Heads of Health Agencies: WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin, UNAIDS Executive Director Michele Sidibe, and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta, as well as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers. Together, they visited Cama & Allbless Hospital and Grand Medical College & Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, both government hospitals in Maharashtra, where they had the opportunity to speak directly with health workers and patients and learn first hand about the government's work on antenatal care, postnatal care, voluntary counseling and testing of HIV/AIDS and its treatment, integrated health services for children, and prevention of parent to child transmission of HIV. They also worked to establish a business council to effectively catalyze, lead and coordinate the private sector’s efforts on MDGs 4 and 5. Read a detailed overview and view photos from the Secretary-General's visit. Read the Secretary-General's editorial "Securing the Future" in the Hindustan Times. View India's commitment in support of Every Woman Every Child.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to a young mother as he visits the natal and maternal health wards at Cama Hospital in Mumbai, India. UN Photo/Mark Garten.

Global Report Launch Shines Spotlight on Issue of Preterm Birth: 15 Million Babies Born Too Soon, Over 1 Million Die Each Year  Addressing preterm birth is now an urgent priority in order to reach MDG 4 for the reduction of child deaths by two-thirds by 2015. Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth provides the first-ever national, regional and global estimates of preterm birth and shows that preterm birth is on the rise in most countries, and is now the second leading cause of death globally for children under five, after pneumonia. The report was a joint effort of almost 50 international, regional and national organizations, led by the March of Dimes, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Save the Children and the World Health Organization (WHO) in support of the Every Woman Every Child movement. View the 30 new and enhanced commitments on preterm birth in support of Every Woman Every Child. View the full report, executive summary, and press release. View related materials and interactive map of preterm births.

BornTooSoon via Anne Geddes/The Geddes Group. Photo courtesy Anne Geddes/The Geddes Group.

Leaders Meet to Discuss Priority Health Commodities that Save Women’s and Children’s Lives — On April 17, Commissioners to the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children met for the first time to discuss priority health commodities for women and children. The newly announced Commissioners joined from various remote locations to discuss ways to synthesize existing knowledge about priority life-saving health supplies, which will inform high-level recommendations that will be announced later this year. Read the release.

“Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” Campaign Begins Fifth birthdays are regarded as a milestone birthday after which one is much more likely to survive into adulthood. In recognition of this, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched their “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” campaign last week in Washington, D.C. The campaign is part of a larger event called “Child Survival: Call to Action,” which will bring together the governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States along with UNICEF, health experts, and technical experts to identify obstacles, best practices, and potential strategies to end preventable child deaths. Learn more.

HRP Celebrating 40 Years of Innovation — This year, in honor of the 40th anniversary of its founding, the HRP (the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction) will highlight each month a key achievement in its efforts to achieve universal access to reproductive health. View key HRP achievements including this month's feature: reducing maternal deaths by preventing postpartum haemorrhage.

World Immunization Week Galvanizes Global Advocates around Vaccines — Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions. From April 21-28, the WHO united countries across the globe under the umbrella of World Immunization Week for vaccination campaigns, public education and information sharing. During this week, the United Nations Foundation launched its Shot@Life campaign, a movement to protect children worldwide by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed. Photographer Anne Geddes will serve as a Global Advocate as part of her commitment to Every Woman Every Child. View photos from the launch event in Atlanta.

Landmark Resolution On Maternal and Child Health Passed During IPU — In late March and early April, leaders of nearly 120 national parliaments met in Uganda for the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). For the first time in history, the IPU passed a resolution on the issue of maternal, newborn and child health: “Access to health as a basic right: The role of Parliaments in addressing key challenges to securing the health of women and children” calling for member-parliaments to take all possible measures to achieve MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015. Learn more.

Commission on Population and Development Meets in New York — At the 45th Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD), Member States issued a bold resolution in support of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and human rights. This resolution reflects values espoused in the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, which acknowledges the vulnerability of adolescents and calls on global actors to help ensure they have control over their life choices, including their fertility. Learn more.

World Malaria Day 2012 — On April 23, in honor of World Malaria Day, the Rollback Malaria Partnership co-hosted a reception at the UN Headquarters with the United Nation Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, and Variety Magazine. The reception provided a forum to discuss ongoing efforts to eradicate malaria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium, Special Representative to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal came together to show their support for the fight to end malaria worldwide. Speakers widely recognized the need for continued investment in malaria control to propel malaria-endemic countries toward near-zero deaths by 2015. Learn more. Watch a video with the Secretary-General and Shaquille O’Neal on malaria. 

Melinda Gates Advocates for Universal Access to Family Planning — Philanthropist Melinda Gates presented at TEDxBerlin on the critical role of family planning in women’s lives everywhere. She told her personal story of how contraceptives changed her life. Watch the full video and share your own story about contraception's life-changing effects. Learn more about reproductive health and Every Woman Every Child.


Partner Spotlight: India

in-lgflag.gifIndia was one of the first countries to make a commitment in support of Every Woman Every Child. The government is implementing that commitment through determined action and with great innovation at the national and local level. At the national level, the Government of India has committed to spend over $3.5 billion each year on health services, with substantial spending to improve women’s and children’s health and focus on those districts which account for the overwhelming majority of infant and maternal deaths. India recently pledged to increase the percentage of GDP on health and is making an effort to offer free health coverage to all people living below the poverty line. Learn more.

News and Opinion

April 24

Securing the Future: Editorial in the Hindustan Times by Ban Ki-moon


April 18

Don’t Forget the Girls: Editorial in the Huffington Post by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin


April 17

Leaders Discuss Priority Health Commodities that Save Women’s and Children’s Lives


April 14

The Road to Universal Health Care: Editorial in The Hindu by K. Srinath Reddy and A. K. Shiva Kumar on Health System Strengthening


April 11

Rebuilding Myanmar’s Health System


April 10

Uganda: Pregnancy and Childbirth Mean Playing Russian Roulette with Women's Lives


April 7

Uganda Health News: Countries Urged to Prioritize Maternal and Child Health


April 5

Africa: Parliaments Scale Up Efforts to Secure the Health of Women and Children


April 5

Toward Universal Health Coverage: Editorial in the New York Times by David De Ferranti and Julio Frenk


April 4

A New Economic Development Paradigm: Bhutan High-level meeting on Happiness


April 3

Saraki Makes the Case for Home-Grown IMNCH Initiatives for Maternal and Child Health


April 2

Strong Partnership between UN and National Parliaments Vital in Tackling Global Challenges, UN Secretary-General tells IPU


April 2

Leading the Way: Editorial in the Times of India by N.R. Narayana Murthy and Ted Turner on India’s Remarkable Polio Achievement


See All News »

Every Woman Every Child aims to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.  It is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children around the world.

Learn more at

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