SEA/RC63/13 - Accelerating the achievement of MDG 5: Addressing inequity in maternal and neonatal health
AbstractImproving maternal and neonatal health continues to be the major challenge for many countries in the WHO South-East Asia (SEA) Region. Overcoming the challenge would require an effective and efficient health-care system that allows all women to plan for their pregnancy and to get skilled care during antenatal, childbirth and postnatal periods, as well as neonatal care, and that these are backed up by referral services. Providing such healthcare services is an important element of implementing human rights that governments are obliged to provide for all their citizens without discrimination. Countries in the SEA Region contribute to about 27% of the global population; however, they contribute to approximately 33% of the global maternal and neonatal deaths. In absolute numbers, the Region contributed to more than 170 000 maternal deaths, 1 million still-births and more than 1.3 million neonatal deaths in 2008. The health inequities across and within countries are the major issues in the Region. The attached paper highlights the inequities among and within countries in accessing skilled care at birth and in utilization of modern family planning methods. Among the causes of inequity in maternal and neonatal health (MNH) care, a few of the key issues that are emphasized are: (i) inadequate commitment and low budget allocation for the MNH programme at national and subnational levels; (ii) social and cultural barriers in accessing MNH care; and (iii) inadequate quality of MNH care. The recommendations proposed to address the inequities in MNH care are: (i) strengthen commitment and ensure adequate budget allocation for the MNH programme; (ii) improve leadership and management of the MNH programme at all levels; (iii) ensure women and community empowerment for MNH care and community-based actions; (iv) forge multisectoral collaboration/partnership in achieving universal access for MNH/reproductive health; and (v) facilitate exchange of information and experience within and among countries. The High-Level Preparatory (HLP) meeting held in the Regional Office in New Delhi from 28 June to 1 July 2010 reviewed the working paper and made the following recommendations: Actions by Member States (1) Leadership and management of the MNH programme should be strengthened at all levels through capacity building. (2) Women and community empowerment for MNH care and community-based actions should be ensured. (3) Multisectoral collaboration and partnership should be forged for achieving universal access for MNH/reproductive health. Actions by WHO-SEARO (1) To facilitate resource mobilization for the MNH programme in collaboration with other UN agencies and potential donors. (2) To provide support for exchange of information and experience within and among countries. (3) To support programmes responsible for MDGs 4, 5 and 6, in preparation for Asia- Pacific Ministerial MDG Summit in August 2010, and the UN MDG Summit meeting to be held in September 2010. The working paper and the HLP meeting recommendations based on it are submitted to the Sixty-third Session of the Regional Committee for its consideration.
World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. (2010). SEA/RC63/13 - Accelerating the achievement of MDG 5: Addressing inequity in maternal and neonatal health. WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/128390