UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health during the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in New York in September 2010. In a major push to accelerate progress on women's and children's health, a number of Heads of State and Government from developed and developing countries, along with representatives from the private sector, foundations, international organizations, civil society and research institutions, pledged over US$ 40 billion in resources over the next five years to implement the Global Strategy.
As a concerted worldwide effort, implementation of the Global Strategy, has the potential to:
- save the lives of more than 15 million children under five;
- prevent 33 million unwanted pregnancies;
- prevent the deaths of 570 000 women from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth;
- protect 120 million children from pneumonia;
- protect 88 million children from stunting due to malnutrition;
- advance the control of deadly diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS;
- ensure access for women and children to quality health facilities and skilled health workers.
The Global Strategy identifies the finance and policy changes needed, along with vital interventions to improve women's and children's health in the world's 49 poorest countries. It provides a clear road map for making a fundamental difference in millions of lives. All funding will be measured and tracked to ensure accountability for commitments, actions and results. The financial pledges represent more money for health, but are also expected to ensure more health for the money, through better and more focused use of available resources.
Innovative policies, products and processes are expected to help achieve the ambitious targets set by MDGs 4 and 5 and the Global Strategy. The aim is to support country-led health plans, strengthen health systems and address existing gaps in the delivery of basic health care. Integrated services and coordinated research and innovation will accelerate progress. The partners working to implement the Global Strategy are also expected to address issues that go beyond the health sector that affect the health of women and children, such as water and sanitation, infrastructure, nutrition, human rights, gender equality and women's empowerment.
The WHO, UNICEF, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), (together know as the "H4+") are collaborating to mobilize and sustain political and operational support, including fighting for universal access to care for all women and children. This team will identify and connect resources to the people who need them based on the priorities set by countries in their national health plans. The H4+ agencies are currently analysing the commitments made by 25 high-burden countries in order to identify the action and support required at country level to achieve national goals.
“The Global Strategy asks us to be smart, strategic and resourceful as never before,” said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan on the occasion of the launch of the Global Strategy. “By integrating their actions, the eight international health-related agencies will strengthen capacities across the board, in ways that meet the comprehensive needs of women and children.”