Addressing Critical Knowledge Gaps in Newborn Health

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at the 64th World Health Assembly

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at the 64th World Health Assembly
June 9, 2011
World Health Organization
Newborn News

The Sixty-fourth World Health Assembly has adjourned, with major decisions to support reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH). Countries have made declared new commitments to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and the new recommendations and the advance Report from the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health were made public. Member States reached agreements that strengthen health systems to improve access to quality care, tackle chronic noncommunicable diseases, and give the world a better chance to reach the health-related MDGs. Link to our special web section focusing on relevant RMNCH side events, resolutions and strategies.

The World Health Assembly spent eight days working through a broad agenda and 28 resolutions and three decisions were adopted to guide the upcoming work of the Organization and to address priority global health issues. Find below, and on the links on the right, reports and highlights regarding reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH).

WHO's role in the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit 2010
The delegations welcomed the final report of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health. They urged Member States to implement the recommendations, requested the Executive Board to hold a discussion in January 2012 on the implementation of the recommendations and requested the WHO Secretariat to report on progress at the next WHA in 2012. Find more information on the Commission Briefing on the link to the right.

Global Strategy; New commitments to save women and children
Sixteen countries announced new commitments to dramatically reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality, as part of the Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health. Nine of the 16 countries represent the African continent, in addition to the 18 commitments made in September 2010 by African States. The commitments include measures such as contraceptive use, attended childbirth, improved access to emergency obstetric care, PMCHT and childhood immunization. Find full details of the new commitments on the link on your right.

Health-related Millennium Development Goals
Health-related MDGs received support with resolutions and reports on immunization strategy, infant and young child nutrition, child injury prevention, safe management of drinking water, malaria, and the presentation of the final report of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health. Find more information on the discussions, resolutions and reports on the links to the right.

Strong health systems
Delegates and other partners engaged in a lengthy discussion on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancers, and chronic respiratory diseases --one of the greatest challenges to health and development today and the focus on the next leaders’ summit at the United Nations in September 2011.

It was recognized that progress on prevention and control of NCD and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will require strong health systems: The delegates approved five resolutions to strengthen health systems including strategies to strengthen nursing and midwifery, actions to improve the health workforce through effective implementation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel, and efforts to improve national policy dialogue to build more robust health policies, strategies and plans. In addition two other resolutions encourage sustainable health financing structures and universal coverage of health care and services, and focus on strengthening national health emergency and disaster management capacities and resilience of health systems.

Resolution: Working towards the reduction of perinatal and neonatal mortality
A resolution on "Working towards the reduction of perinatal and neonatal mortality" was adopted. It urges Member States to further advance perinatal and neonatal care as a priority and develop plans to increase access to cost-effective interventions - in the context of existing national, regional and global plans around the continuum of care for maternal, newborn and child health.