The Alliance for RMNH After One Year

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Written by: Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health

“It is an international scandal that more than 350,000 women die in the developing world every year from complications in pregnancy or child birth that can be easily prevented.” These words were spoken by Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s International Development Secretary, at the September 2010 launch of the Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health. Responding to this need, four key organizations in international health established a unique public-private partnership aimed at accelerating progress towards MDG 4— reducing child mortality— and MDG 5—improving reproductive and maternal health.

The Alliance represents a collaborative effort between the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to USAID Administrator Raj Shah, “by bringing the comparative advantages of country partners and donors through this Alliance, we will bolster health outcomes in countries striving to improve the lives and health of its women, girls, and newborns.”

The work of the Alliance focuses on forging effective partnerships to improve reproductive, maternal and newborn health programs in ten of the world’s high-need countries— Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Uganda. As Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd notes, “collectively we need to support country leadership, and make the investment case for more resources in return for better results.“ Working with these countries and globally, by 2015 the Alliance will contribute to three ambitious targets:

  • 100 million additional users of modern methods of family planning
  • 67 million more women giving birth with the help of a skilled attendant
  • 80 million more infants exclusively breastfed through the age of six months

In the Alliance’s first year, activities have revolved around developing productive partnerships among Alliance members, government partners, and civil society organizations through joint planning, implementation, funding, problem-solving and learning. Through effective partnerships and drive for collective action, the Alliance has contributed towards several notable accomplishments within collaborating countries. Read more about these achievements in the Alliance’s year one progress report (PDF).

  • In Bangladesh, Alliance members worked with partners to help the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare develop a five-year plan for health sector programs.
  • In Uganda, DFID and USAID collaborated to increase support for private sector partners providing family planning services.
  • In Pakistan, the Alliance helped to increase the number of trained community midwives from 2,795 in 2010 to 7,764 in 2011.
  • Responding to evidence compiled and presented by the Alliance, Nigeria’s Ministry of Health eliminated fees for contraceptives in public-sector facilities and for the first time pledged US$4 million to procure contraceptives through the United Nations Population Fund.

As the Alliance moves forward into its second year, partners will continue to identify and collaborate on a selected number of strategic activities that will enhance progress in reproductive, maternal, and newborn health. Efforts to improve access to quality care during labor for mothers and babies and improving maternal and newborn health and nutrition will receive increased attention. The reproductive and maternal health needs of adolescent girls will be a particular focus. We will continue our coordinated efforts to improve access to quality, affordable reproductive and maternal health supplies. Ultimately, as noted by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “we look forward to greater collaboration in supporting policies and programs that will improve the health of millions of women and children.”

To learn more about the Alliance, please contact