Five Global Health Events on the Same Day? How to Stay Connected at the UN General Assembly

By Nicole Schiegg

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post here. Reposted with permission.

Next week is the annual gathering of a “who’s who” of political, private sector and civil society leaders at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City. It is the culmination of several months of careful planning, especially for global health advocates who pack the week with side events that feature progress and hold the world accountable to do more for the world’s most vulnerable.

In July, partners of the successful Every Woman Every Child movement gathered at the United Nations headquarters to discuss how to harmonize the global women and child health narrative. A study showcased at the event by the UN’s Global Pulse and Every Women Every Child found that close to 14 million tweets have been generated by the global public in the last 3 years related to the topics of children’s and women’s health. While the study was limited to English language tweets, trend analysis shows that between 2009 and today, there has been an increase in content related to children’s and women’s health of close to 1,000 percent. In particular, the growth in online conversations related to women’s health issues over the past 18 months has been exponential. So we know there are a lot of people talking about this issue, but how does the women and child health community strengthen coalition-building and better integrate messaging to communicate results? Since this event, Every Woman Every Child partners have been meeting almost weekly to answer that question by developing a cohesive profile for UNGA week (and hopefully beyond).

The coalition of partners decided to highlight Millennium Development Goal (MDG) successes and challenges as they relate to women’s and children’s health; as well as promote accountability, innovation and equity as key drivers to accelerate action between now and 2015. Every Woman Every Child has shown what multi-stakeholder partnerships can accomplish by helping to move women and child health from the caboose of the MDG train to the driving engine. Stakeholders are committed more than ever to strengthening this global narrative, by working together and honing the power of data in new and interesting ways. During UNGA week, you can follow the many partners promoting this important narrative by following #EWECprogress on Twitter.

With event calendars that are now 30 pages long for just one week, I know some of you reading this post are thinking “yah, like I have time to follow conversations on Twitter.” The good news is that this year there is a new effort that will have a far reaching benefit to the entire global development community.

FHI360, Women Deliver and Johnson & Johnson, in support of Every Woman Every Child, will create a social media hub and daily newsletters that curate conversations taking place on the health MDGs — 4, 5 and 6. The team will use #MDG456Live, and will draw content from #EWECProgress and other hashtags to cover the best conversations and events taking place during the week. All you need to do is sign up for the daily delivery here. The newsletter should arrive in your inbox each day by 10am.

With so many new global health partnerships and commitments, consistency of message can be a challenge. But I am confident that by coming together as a community — and by having new tools like #MDG456live, we will celebrate all the attention as a triumph to everyone involved in advocacy and implementation efforts.

Look forward to seeing you next week! “Keep Calm and UNGA On…”