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Tracking Financial Commitments for Women and Children

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The PMNCH 2014 Report should be read by everyone interested in development and how financial resources are mobilized and distributed for women and children’s health. We might be operating in our own local environment but certainly international decisions whether we are aware of or consulted affect how much resources come to us.

The report titled “Tracking Financial Commitments to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health” is the fourth annual report that the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) has published in line with the commitments to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. The report has focused exclusively on the commitments made to the Global Strategy that were specifically expressed in financial terms. It provides;

  • An update on the estimated value of financial commitments
  • The progress made in their disbursement and implementation
  • An analysis of how these commitments have affected financing for reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) more broadly
  • An assessment of the degree to which financial commitments and overall RMNCH funding are aligned with the priorities spelled out in the Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health (GIF).

The Report core findings;

  1. The number of commitment-makers has tripled, from about 100 in 2010 to 300 in 2014. The capacity of the EWEC movement to attract and maintain partners over time indicates a high degree of sustained political commitment to women’s and children’s health.
  2. Financial commitments to the Global Strategy have now reached almost US$60 billion. An important feature of the financial commitments is that up to US$22 billion is new and additional funding for women’s and children’s health. Of this additional amount, US$13 –17 billion is targeted at the 49 Global Strategy focus countries, which represents 15 –19% of the US$88 billion funding gap for RMNCH between 2011 and 2015.
  1. Commitment-makers are making strong progress with their disbursements. Almost 60% (US$34 billion) of the US$60 billion committed has now been disbursed.
  1. The Global Strategy has positively influenced international donors. The overall analysis of trends in donor funding for RMNCH indicates that the Global Strategy has made an impact on RMNCH donor financing. Donors disbursed a total of US$6.8 billion to improve RMNCH in the 49 Global Strategy countries in 2012, an increase of 11.1% since the launch of the Global Strategy in 2010.
  2. There are still inequities in the geographical targeting of donor funding. A number of low-income countries (LICs) with very high absolute numbers of maternal and child deaths and/or very high mortality rates, and poor access to reproductive health services, including several francophone countries such as Cameroon, Chad, and Niger, receive comparatively little donor support . In some of these countries, such as Sierra Leone and Chad, RMNCH donor support has even fallen since 2010.
  3. Donor funding for family planning and other key interventions has increased since the launch of the Global Strategy, but is far from sufficient to achieve agreed targets. From 2010 – 2012, donor disbursements for family planning increased by 47% (to US$561 million in 2012) for the Countdown countries, and by 52% (to US$451 million) for the 49 Global Strategy countries.
  4. Domestic expenditures for RMNCH (including family planning) increased but fall short of need. RMNCH expenditures by the governments of the 49 Global Strategy countries increased to a total of US$2.7 billion in 2012, a 15% increase from 2010. Domestic funding for RMNCH from the 75 Countdown countries grew by 21% between 2010 and 2012.

The report based on the above key findings provided some strategic recommendations as follows;

  • Efforts to mobilize additional resources from international and domestic sources for RMNCH need to be continued and must be kept high on the political agenda.
  • Funding should be focused on the most cost-effective, evidence-based intervention packages that have the largest impact on reducing mortality and that are currently receiving too little attention.
  • Donors and countries should refer to the Global Investment Framework for Women’s and Children’s Health to guide their investments, which should be particularly targeted at the most underfunded of its six packages and those with the highest impact.
  • Funding needs to be better matched with mortality burden to achieve equitable progress among countries and healthy lives for all.
  • Countries need to further prioritize and strengthen efforts to self-finance their RMNCH needs. More domestic resources from middle-income countries (MICs) are required for RMNCH to free up donor funding for the poorest countries, but LICs also need to strengthen their efforts to self-finance their RMNCH needs.
  • Strengthen political leadership for family planning at country level to create support for contraception and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Initiate a major final Global Strategy accountability reporting session at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2015 to ensure accountability right up to the finish line. Without such a process, there is a risk of “slippages” in accountability.
  • To strengthen accountability for RMNCH beyond 2015, a harmonized method should be agreed on to track progress against the post-2015 targets for RMNCH.

These key strategic recommendations need to be fully understood and to be  situated within our local contexts and to help us become strategic international players without losing sight of the fact that we need to support local interventions for our women and children.

 This article is 1st published in Daily Trust Newspaper by Dr Aminu Magashi on 7th October  2014. He can be reached at healthweekly@yahoo.com and follow @HReporters 

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