Within days of becoming Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell stated that he would put women and girls at the centre of DFID’s approach to fighting poverty. Improving reproductive, maternal and newborn health in the developing world is a major part of the drive to do so. DFID is therefore developing a new business plan, which will determine the UK’s contribution towards reducing maternal mortality. The aim is to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted and that every birth is safe. In doing so, DFID also want make an enormous contribution to reducing child mortality – particularly through improving the survival chances of newborn babies.
Twelve weeks ago, DFID launched a consultation to gather input into the new business plan on reproductive, maternal and newborn health. Contributions have been made by individuals and organisations from a broad range of backgrounds.
RESULTS UK made a submission to the consultation process in order to highlight some of the areas that we believe DFID’s business plan should prioritise. We believe that this area of development is absolutely crucial and we strongly support DFID’s move to prioritise work on women and children. We recommend that they focus on proven interventions that have been shown to make a major difference for women and children, while integrating the strategy with areas that intersect with reproductive and maternal health. More details of our submission are below.
In our submission we argued that:
- DFID’s efforts to improve reproductive, maternal and newborn health (RMNH) should be delivered as part of a continuum of care approach that includes interventions to improve the health of all children under five.
- Equity should be at the heart of DFID’s response to RMNH with a focus on reaching the poorest and most marginalised women and children who are living in the parts of the world with the greatest need.
- DFID should help to scale up access to a package of cost-effective and proven interventions including misoprostol distribution for postpartum haemorrhage prevention at home deliveries and family planning services.
- DFID’s strategy to improve RMNH should be integrated with efforts to tackle AIDS, TB, malaria and other diseases of poverty which cause a large percentage of deaths in mothers and children.
- DFID’s approach to RMNH should also address the indirect causes of maternal and child deaths such as undernutrition, the availability of clean water and sanitation and girls empowerment and education.
- DFID should build on the ambitious commitments on maternal and child health made at the UN MDG Review Summit by announcing further details on how it intends to deliver on these commitments. It should also continue to push other countries to set themselves equally bold targets backed up with additional resources.
- On completion of the Multilateral Aid Review, DFID should significantly increase its funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and GAVI Alliance and encourage other donors to contribute their fair share to ensure that both mechanisms are fully funded.
- To assure the long-term effectiveness of its RMHN Business Plan, DFID should also seek to help remove barriers that prevent poor women and children accessing RMNH services, for example by supporting countries to train sufficient numbers of health workers and identify alternative sources of health financing to user fees.
If you would like to read RESULTS UK’s full submission you can click here to download it. We’ll keep you informed of how the next stages of the consultation goes and when the final business plan is due to be released.