Think Outside the Box: Five Takeaways for #GlobalMNH

Think Outside the Box: Five Takeaways for #GlobalMNH

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}Several MSH delegates gather at the Global MNH conference.Photo credit: MSH staff

The Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference held last week in Mexico City was an action-packed three days of presentations and conversations about state-of-the-art strategies to improve maternal and newborn health. Throughout it all, the following key themes stood out as critical for the post-2015 development agenda, particularly in the context of pursuing universal health coverage (UHC).

  1. Optimize health systems. To achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 and the specific targets related to maternal and newborn health, not only are stronger health systems essential, but the expanded recognition of what is included in that “system” needs to be operationalized to truly encompass all the actors involved in improving the health of women and children, including, &;for example, &;&;private sector for-profit service providers, not-for-profit&; service providers (faith-based organizations, non-governmental &;organizations), civil society, and other sectors of government&;.&;
  2. Demand women’s and children’s right to quality. In pursuit of UHC, civil society has a role to play in raising awareness that everyone has a right to health and quality services, including raising awareness regarding what “quality” implies.
  3. Partner across sectors. Recognize the important contributions of the private sector, in all of its manifestations (profit and not-for-profit), toward bettering the health of women and children. The global health community must more fully engage the private sector in meaningful partnerships.
  4. Countries lead. The government – including and beyond ministries of health– has a critical stewardship role in the changing development landscape to promote a more holistic vision of health.
  5. Accelerate and collaborate on mutual accountability, financing, and data. These key interrelated themes – accountability, financing, and data -- require all actors (government, civil society, private sector) to intervene and collaborate to ensure success. All actors have a role in holding each other (and themselves) accountable for achieving desired outcomes, namely a reduction in maternal and newborn mortality. Financing of accelerated efforts to achieve these outcomes requires collaboration among these actors, as well, as the world moves towards mobilization of domestic funding as opposed to donor-funded efforts. Perhaps the most important area that will drive both increased accountability and creative financing of improved access to services is data. Without strong data to support efforts; show how, where, and why funding is spent; and identify those pockets of the population that require intensified efforts to reach, we are doomed for failure.

In short, our goals for maternal and newborn health over the next fifteen years are ambitious. And as several plenary speakers and panelists mentioned last week, to achieve them we cannot continuing doing business as usual.  We need to think outside of the box, move outside of our comfort zone, and make new friends.

[Thirteen MSH delegates representing six countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America made six oral and two poster presentations at the Global MNH conference, providing results of our work improving community level health services in Madagascar, an early breastfeeding initiative in DRC, and other successful MSH efforts to improve global maternal and newborn health.] {Photo credit: MSH staff}Thirteen MSH delegates representing six countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America made six oral and two poster presentations at the Global MNH conference, providing results of our work improving community level health services in Madagascar, an early breastfeeding initiative in DRC, and other successful MSH efforts to improve global maternal and newborn health.Photo credit: MSH staff

Comments

Kindra Willis
Thank you for this concise and impassioned update.
Azim Mohammad Uddin
Very enriched blog,indeed. However, I was wondering to see any discussion about new strategies for the Hard to Reach Community for ensuring their accessibility to the quality health services, Reaching hard to reach people is always a big challenge in any country. But in the context of pursuing universal health coverage (UHC), we should have comprehensive plan for the hard to reach people.

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