PMNCH 2010 Annual Report: From Hope to Action

Publisher/Organizer: The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Publication date: March 2011
Number of pages:
Language: English

Foreword by Dr Julio Frenk, Chair of The Partnership Board and Dean of Harvard School of Public Health

The past year was one of the most encouraging I can remember in terms of improvements in the health of women and children. After many years when reducing the terrible toll of deaths in infants, small children and their mothers seemed frustratingly elusive, at last we saw evidence of real progress. We cannot and should not put too much faith in numbers alone, but when those numbers emerge from painstaking research by reputable scientists they deserve our respect and attention. The numbers published in 2010 tell us that maternal and child deaths are going down, year by year, especially among some of the most vulnerable populations in the poorest countries of the world.

Understanding why these welcome reductions are occurring is key to accelerating them. This can best be achieved through a vibrant and continuous exchange of knowledge and expertise among the global health community, through working together, through searching unceasingly for ways to apply new knowledge and skills efficiently at the front-line of primary health care. This is the raison d’être of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. In 2010 its contribution was demonstrated as never before. In facilitating the development of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, initiated by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and launched at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit in New York on 22 September, The Partnership has helped take the entire movement a great step forward.

As this report articulates, 2010 was a year of hope, and a year of action. There is a wonderful synergy between the two: hope spurs action, and action spurs hope. Evidence of real progress is the foundation for both. The Partnership, in its short lifespan, has found a place at the heart of this dynamic and is poised to act as a vital catalyst for future progress.

The evidence is not just numerical. It can also be seen in the increased commitment of governments, multilateral agencies, nongovernmental organizations, health-care professional associations, academic, research and training institutions and the private sector, and in increased funding from international donors. And behind the statistics and the politics lies the reality – scientifically proven interventions applied by dedicated health-care workers really are saving the lives of children and their mothers.

Very few of us ever have the chance to save a life, and yet for those across the field of public health, and especially in maternal and child health, it is a daily challenge. It is both a responsibility and a privilege. Those of us who make up The Partnership – our almost 400 members, representing many thousands of individuals – share that responsibility and that privilege.

As the incoming Chairman of The Partnership Board, I welcome this report and the messages it conveys to everyone who has a role to play in one of the greatest public health missions of the 21st century. We owe it to every woman and every child at risk in the world today to redouble our efforts to protect them in the year ahead and for many years to come.