Special UN Session on Maternal and Child Health Featured on UN Web TV

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By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultant

A special panel discussion on women’s and children’s health was held yesterday at the UN General Assembly. A full video of the event is now available for viewing via UN Web TV.

As the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health noted:

 “The event, hosted by the Government of Canada, Tanzania and Norway, with the support of the World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sought to place at the heart of its discussions, the need to sustain momentum and focus on women’s and children’s health; ensure interventions integral to this group are implemented and reiterate the importance of championing key measures needed to strengthen accountability.”

Among the highlights were remarks by Prime Minister of Stephen Harper, who announced that funds pledged as part of the G8’s Muskoka Initiative will go to nine projects meant to accelerate progress toward the maternal and child health goals. Throughout the event, speakers not only emphasized the need to “stay on course” to accelerate progress toward improvements in maternal and child health. Speakers, including President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke of the need to not only expand investments in essential areas, such as increasing the number and improving the skills of health workers,  but also in the area of vital statistics and record keeping systems – which are essential to tracking progress and setting priorities for investment.

The panel was followed by a second discussion, moderated by Richard Horton, Chief Editor of The Lancet and co-chair of the independent Expert Review Group. That discussion focused on critical opportunities and challenges for coordinating efforts to accelerate progress toward improving maternal and child health at global and national levels. For instance, panelists discussed the opportunities, challenges and risks that have come with the rapid expansion of global health initiatives for actually achieving improvements in health and well-being.