PMNCH hosts roundtable on the centrality of Women’s and children’s health Post-2015

15 APRIL 2014 | WASHINGTON, DC

At the 2014 Global Donors Forum in Washington, organized by the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, a PMNCH hosted roundtable brought together government representatives, public and private sector leaders and experts to discuss the importance of placing “Women and Children at the Centre of the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

Professor Iqbal Ahmad Memon, President of Pakistan Pediatric Association Center set the tone for the discussions with a presentation based on the work of Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta. The presentation gave an overall situational analysis of the current state of women’s and children’s health in the Islamic world and offered ways in which some of the issues could be addressed.

Dr Carole Presern, PMNCH Executive Director introduced the Global Investment Framework calling it “more than philanthropy but an investment with considerable returns”. The Investment Framework she said, has provided strong arguments to ensure that better health continues to be a cornerstone for development, and will result in positive impact in other sectors as well. In closing she emphasised the importance of a multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder approach to this work.

Participants also heard interventions from Professor Nila F Moeloek, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of Indonesia on the Millennium Development Goals who spoke of the importance of women’s and children’s health and its centrality to sustainable development, particularly in the emerging Post-2015 Development Agenda. She underlined the importance of in-country implementation of the Global Investment Framework and ended her presentation by emphasizing the importance of relevance and replicability of programs as we move to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Dr Amany Asfour, President of the Egyptian Business Women Association spoke of cross sectoral opportunities for engagement and the importance of linking women’s and children’s health outcomes with other sectors such as education, nutrition, water and Sanitation. Dr Asfour went on to describe the Egyptian experience in empowering and educating girls, stressing that the economic empowerment of women is central to social transformation and that empowering women provides independence of choice and voice.

The following recommendation emerged from the presentations and discussions at the PMNCH Roundtable

  • to adapt and shape the Global Investment Framework for women’s and children’s health to the local realities in countries with the majority Muslim populations, and particularly as a guide for philanthropic investments that can lead to significant social and economic returns;
  • Stakeholders to make commitments to the Every Newborn Action Plan, accelerating the implementation of essential interventions for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, and other initiatives to improve women’s and children’s health in both the Islamic world and worldwide;
  • to adopt a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholders approach in the endeavours to improve health of women and children, recognising that health is interlinked with many other sectors in society and economy; and
  • to work on forming a regional alliance and/or specific working group on strengthening the regional voice and inputs into the discussion on the post-2015 agenda development agenda so as to ensure inclusion of women’s and children’s health-priorities.

PMNCH also contributed to an end of Forum Declaration to reflect the key issues raised during the roundtable.

PMNCH input into the Global Donors Forum Declaration

Around 1.8 billion people, or 23% of the world’s population, live in countries with a Muslim majority population; at the same time, the burden of diseases and mortality is proportionally much greater. While there has been progress, nonetheless, these countries account globally for 42% of all maternal deaths, 40% of stillbirths, and 40% of deaths of children under the age of five. In addition, there is enormous inequity across the Islamic world. Only 29 countries (out of a total of 51) account for 80% of the burden of maternal, newborn and child deaths in the Islamic world. Much of the morbidity and mortality is clustered among the poor and marginalized populations in both urban and rural settings. Challenges are clear; but progress is possible and solutions are within our grasp.

Recognising the continued burden of maternal, newborn and child ill health globally, and in the Islamic world more specifically, the World Health Organisation hosted Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health (PMNCH), on behalf of its seven constituencies and more than 600 members, invites delegates to sign up to a multi-stakeholder call for the global community to include a focus on women’s and children’s health in the post-2015 development agenda (http://www.who.int/pmnch/post2015/en/).

This will build on the impressive global, regional and national commitments made to date, and work that has been done on guiding investments into women’s and children’s health, as per the recently published Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health (http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/news/2013/gif/en/) and the Commission on Investing in Health. The key packages are family planning, maternal and newborn health, malaria, HIV, immunisation and child health. Investment and implementation up to 2035 would save 150 million child deaths (of which 60 million would be newborn), more than 5.3 million maternal deaths and more than 32 million stillbirths.

We already have an existing global consensus on interventions that will make the greatest impact (http://www.who.int/pmnch/knowledge/publications/201112_essential_interventions/en/). In addition to the post 2015 focus, there continue to be major opportunities for stakeholders to make commitments to resolving existing challenges – in particular, opportunities to make commitments to the Every Newborn Action Plan. This is a global action plan to end preventable newborn deaths, in the context of an integrated continuum of care, which also focuses on the mother. This will be launched at the PMNCH Partners’ Forum in Johannesburg 30 June 2014.

This is the challenge. There is an immense opportunity for the emerging economies to lead the efforts in their countries and their regions to address this burden and these inequities, and importantly to take on a global leadership role in shaping the post-2015 global development agenda. As part of these efforts, the Islamic foundations’ community needs to be at the forefront in making available the knowhow, energy, moral direction, and resources that are required to convert these opportunities into reality.

Background

The Global Donors Forum is a biennial event organized by the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists (WCMP), also a member of PMNCH. The Forum convenes distinguished philanthropists, public and private sector leaders, social investors, financial services industry executives, and experts from across the world to offer pragmatic insight and constructive response to pressing global and regional challenges. The biennial Global Donors Forum serves as a marketplace for ideas, as a platform for sharing knowledge and for forging partnerships, and as a launching pad for high-impact collaborative activities. In addition, this convening is widely recognized as the premier forum on Muslim philanthropy worldwide where issues unique to Muslim giving are discussed in a safe space.

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