Taking the lead: Parliamentarians engage with maternal, newborn and child health

Publisher/Organizer: Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)/Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Publication date: 2010
Number of pages: 24
Language: English


We have witnessed firsthand how fundamental parliamentarians are to development issues and critical the role they play is in improving the health of women and children. Parliamentarians represent the people, they shape policies, make laws, approve budgets and hold the executive branch of government to account – all vital components of the concerted action needed to improve maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). It is also important to point out that parliamentarians’ engagement in MNCH issues not only benefits women and children, but also strengthens the role of parliamentarians in influencing national health and development. Parliamentarians can benefit greatly from having access to the latest international evidence on issues such as MNCH. Being informed of the choices they have when debating and developing laws will lead to better public policy and will help parliamentarians convince skeptical stakeholders of the merits of a legislative initiative. Exchanges with other countries can provide examples and ideas for how they can place MNCH high on the political agenda and advance the rights of women and children in their functions as representatives of the people, lawmakers, and overseers of the implementation of public policy.

This document is intended as a vehicle for delivering such examples and ideas and for contributing to further discussion and dialogue. It is a reflection of the importance that the Inter-Parliamentary Union and The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health attach to the role of parliamentarians in bringing about better health for women and children - the future of our societies. We hope that parliamentarians will find the document useful in their quest to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 on reducing child mortality and 5 on improving maternal health.

Julio Frenk
Chair of the Board
The Partnership for Maternal,
Newborn & Child Health
Anders B. Johnsson
Secretary General
Inter-Parliamentary Union
Dean of the Faculty
Professor of Public Health
and International Development
Harvard School of Public Health