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Increased Harmonization, Coordination Needed To Fully Realize Promise Of Maternal, Child Health Initiatives

“In just a few weeks, global leaders will head to New York City for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly and one of the most important conversations of our time,” United Nations Foundation CEO Kathy Calvin, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. “The world’s collective efforts to eradicate extreme poverty will take center stage as we celebrate important achievements and discuss how to make even more progress quickly,” she notes, highlighting progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which “have been perhaps the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.” She writes, “On health specifically, women today are more likely to survive pregnancy and childbirth, with maternal mortality down 47 percent since 1990,” and “[c]hild mortality has fallen by 41 percent, due in large part to simple but life-saving interventions, like childhood vaccines and anti-malaria bed nets.”

However, Calvin continues, “significant inequalities in better health outcomes remain — both among and within countries — and more work must be done quickly as we approach the 2015 deadline for the MDGs.” She highlights several existing initiatives, including the U.N. Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative, “a global movement of governments, multilateral organizations, the private sector and civil society to save 16 million lives by 2015”; A Promise Renewed, “a joint effort of UNICEF and governments around the world, [which] was launched in 2012 as a sustained global effort to end all preventable child deaths by 2035”; and the first-ever Global Newborn Health Conference, which took place in April “to develop a new Global Newborn Action Plan, which will be released this November.” She states, “With increased harmonization and coordination among donors and other partners as well as increased ownership at the country level, the promise of these initiatives can be fully realized” (9/3).