Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health

The H4+ partnership: joint country support to improve women's and children's health

Progress report 2013


The H4+ partnership comprises six United Nations agencies: UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WHO and the World Bank.1 These are the lead technical partners for the implementation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UNSG) Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. As the constituency with the most extensive reach in low-income/high burden countries, H4+ agencies have committed to facilitate implementation of the commitments made to the Global Strategy through the provision of equity-based, integrated support for countries’ health plans.

Since September 2008, H4+ agencies have programmed joint support to countries for reproductive, maternal and newborn health. This support focuses on advancing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 (Reduce child mortality) and 5 (Improve maternal health), but also touches upon MDG 6 (Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases) and MDG 3 (Promote gender equality and empower women), when relevant. It also involves working with national teams to identify gaps, develop action plans and provide coordinated technical support in the implementation of those plans. After the launch of the Global Strategy in 2010, the scope was further expanded to child health and focused on helping countries put their commitments to the Strategy into action.

To ensure that the commitments to the Global Strategy are fulfilled, both in terms of improving health outcomes and also resources, a Commission on Information and Accountability (COIA) for Women’s and Children’s Health was established. This commission recommended a framework for global reporting, oversight and accountability. Through the 10 recommendations presented in its report Keeping promises, measuring results (1), the Commission has proposed a mechanism to track whether donations for women’s and children’s health are made on time, resources are spent wisely and transparently, and desired results are achieved.

Several other initiatives followed in 2012, including the High Burden Country Initiative, the United Nations Commission on Life- Saving Commodities for Women and Children, Family Planning 2020, and A Promise Renewed (2). These aimed to renew the momentum for reaching the reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) targets.

All of these emerging initiatives and platforms have influenced the H4+ 2012–2013 workplan (see page 3). As H4+ is the technical lead assisting countries to implement their commitments to the Global Strategy (also known as Every Woman Every Child), its agencies are involved in these various initiatives at the country level. The activities of these new initiatives are subsumed and integrated into the work of H4+, and the comparative advantage of each is used to advance work that can accelerate progress towards MDGs 3, 4, 5 and 6.