We have long known that investing in maternal and child health care means investing in a better future for individuals, families, countries, and the world. In response, the United Nations in 2000 dedicated 3 out of 8 Millennium Development Goals to specifically address issues affecting women and children. These included MDG3, to promote gender equality and empower women; MDG4, to reduce child mortality; and MDG5, to improve maternal health. While the number of women dying during childbirth decreased significantly during the MDG era, maternal death rates are still way too high and concentrated in low- and middle-income countries.
In September 2015, in order to address the MDG’s shortcomings related to maternal and child health care, world leaders alongside the UN General Assembly launched Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (EWEC Global Strategy). This movement focuses on local collaborative efforts and engagement of many different stakeholders to prioritize meeting the needs of some of the most disadvantaged and marginalized women, children, and adolescents. EWEC Global Strategy aims to address many different determinants of health so that this population can not only survive, but also will thrive and go on to transform their local and global community for the better.
The first objective is Survive, aimed at ending preventable deaths. Goals include
The second objective is Thrive, aimed at ensuring health and well-being. Goals include
The third objective is Transform, aimed at expanding enabling environments. Goals include
These are ambitious goals, but too important to our future to ignore. Since EWEC Global Strategy was launched, international partners have pledged over 600 commitments and more than $45 billion USD has been contributed to help maternal and child health care. People everywhere are recognizing its importance and in response, stepping up.
By Vivian Shih
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Assessing the global status of maternal and neonatal health in 2020 presents a varied, albeit alarming, view of the lives of mothers and newborns around the world. The socioeconomic strain of the COVID-19 pandemic, moreover, has caused upticks in adult and child malnutrition, leading experts to predict a rise in maternal and neonatal mortality this year.