Scaling Up Efforts for Maternal and Newborn Health

This post originally appeared on Girls’ Globe website here. Reposted with permission.

By Julia Wiklander, Girls’ Globe

On September 25th, during UNGA week, Johnson & Johnson hosted an event in collaboration with Save the Children, March of Dimes, and The MDG Health Alliance. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief at the Lancet, led the conversation to discuss how we can create success in the status of maternal and newborn health.

The dynamic conversation between leaders in the field agreed that we must invest in prevention, as well as care. Christopher Howson, VP at March of Dimes emphasized that prevention has been neglected, a lot because it is invisible, hard to measure, and not dramatic. If we succeed with prevention, including investing in adolscents’ health literacy, we will see unique benefits.

A success in prevention and care in the post-2015 agenda means reaching the most vulnerable, utilizing and replicating successful interventions, creating innovative solutions and collaborating through multi-sectorial partnerships. In order to truly understand if we are being successful with improving maternal and newborn health, we need to capture the data that shows who the most vulnerable populations are and address the challenges for them.

In order to reach the most vulnerable, interventions must be community based and led by the people. We must listen to mothers and empower them to hold their governments accountable.

Accountability can also be enhanced by making the invisible visible, to see where progress is being made and where it is not. William Keenan also emphasized the importance of persistent advocacy for accountability.

This Johnson & Johnson event also emphasized the importance of partnerships. Not only do we need more partnerships to create new solutions, but we need more partnerships to invest in solutions that we know are working! This is where the private sector has a unique advantage to make the work efficient and invest in targeted interventions that have proven success rates.

The status of maternal and newborn health is unacceptable. Scaling up efforts needs to be urgent, targeted and efficient to support the 3.7 million lives that are at risk in the next 826 days.