How good nutrition can ensure the health of every woman, child, newborn and adolescent
On the 30 June 2014, Graca Machel, Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) was joined by Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Oganisation (WHO) to welcome more than 800 leaders and public health experts to a two-day Partner’s Forum in Johannesburg.
The forum brought together representatives from health, nutrition, education, gender and development, public and private sector communities to prioritize joint action and accountability across sectors in anticipation of the post-2015 development goals.
In her first appearance since the death of her husband, Nelson Mandela, Mrs Graça Machel opened the Partner’s Forum saying “we come with a united message that the needless deaths of women, newborns and children must stop“. Video messages from former US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General helped set the tone for the deliberations that took place.
PMNCH has held two previous Partners’ Forums. The first, in Dar es Salaam in 2007, marked the emergence of PMNCH and the second Forum, in New Delhi in November 2010, aimed to develop joint approaches and strategies to operationalize the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.
A side event focusing specifically on nutrition was held during the forum. The discussions emphasized the importance of integrated and complementary participation of multiple stakeholders and that country ownership and leadership is critical for the nutrition agenda.
Two new reports were launched at the Forum: The Countdown to 2015: 2014 Report;, which features nutrition as a key building block for success, and, The Every Newborn Action Plan, a report on ending preventable newborn deaths.
A publication entitled Success Factors For Women And Children’s Health was also launched by PMNCH, WHO, World Bank and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. They worked closely with Ministries of Health, academic institutions and other partners to capture policy and programme highlights from 10 fast-track countries – Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Laos PDR, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda and Vietnam.
A Regional Civil Society Advocacy Workshop for Food and Nutrition security was held in the two days prior to the forum, organized by the Graca Michel Trust (GMT) and also held in Johannesburg. The workshop brought together representatives from Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania to share experiences on advocacy for nutrition and agree on common advocacy issues for scaling up nutrition at a regional level.
A high level event preceding the PMNCH Partner’s Forum was held on 25 June 2014, in Washington D.C. to mark the two year anniversary of the Child Survival Call to Action. Organised by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Governments of Ethiopia and India, in collaboration with UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they celebrated progress made, assessed challenges that remain and identified the steps needed to sustain momentum in the future.
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