This is a guest blog by Debra Jones, director of Family Care International’s Global Advocacy program and a member of the Global Health Council’s delegation to the World Health Assembly. It is being co-published on The FCI Blog.
GENEVA — Thursday, at a packed technical briefing during the World Health Assembly, governments made new commitments to the Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. The announcement included new policy and programming commitments from 16 high-burden developing country governments, along with a US $9.5 million pledge from the Norwegian government.
The Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health also released recommendations from its report, Keeping Promises, Measuring Results.
The Global Strategy represents an unparalleled opportunity to achieve real progress on women’s and children’s health, but only if stakeholders are held accountable for delivering on their pledges. Today’s combined announcements make it abundantly clear that government commitments and accountability mechanisms must be closely tied together.
The Accountability Commission’s report lays out ambitious actions to be taken by countries and partners, including the establishment of an independent Expert Review Group to report annually on results and resources related to the Global Strategy, and on progress in implementing the Commission’s recommendations. The key recommendations focus on:
- Better information for better results: tracking the right indicators, and using innovative information and communication technologies
- Better tracking of resources: breaking down total health expenditure by funding source, and reviewing health spending with an eye on human rights, gender, and other equity goals
- Better oversight of results and resources: transparency, accountability, and public information sharing on commitments, resources, and results
The launch of the Global Strategy and the establishment of national and global accountability mechanisms to track the fulfillment of commitments have created new and unique opportunities to accelerate progress toward the fast-approaching deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
NGOs and other civil society organizations have played a critical role in getting us to this present moment, by raising awareness; making the moral, political, and financial case for action; and ensuring a focus on rights, equity and the needs of people and communities. Going forward, civil society is uniquely positioned to continue demanding that health policies are constructively reformed, financial investments are appropriately tracked and health outcomes are measured and published. FCI is committed to mobilizing and strengthening civil society’s engagement in the development, implementation and monitoring of Global Strategy commitments at the global and national levels.
Read about FCI’s advocacy work in support of the Global Strategy and accountability.