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USD $1.15 Billion Commitment over Three Years to Help Save the Lives of Children and Women Secured through World Bank, UNICEF, USAID and Norway
Date:9/23/2013

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 23, 2013

Today, the World Bank Group, UNICEF, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Norway announced a collective total of USD $1.15 billion in funding over the next three years to accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, and to ensure essential services and medicines reach women and children who need them in developing countries with the highest burdens of maternal and child deaths.

With only 829 days until the MDG deadline of December 31, 2015, the $1.15 billion announced today will provide commodities and services that position countries to be able to help save 3 million lives, according to estimates by the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs.

These commitments represent one of the largest infusions of funds for maternal and child health from global donors since the MDGs were established in 2000, and signal the global community’s determination to support countries in achieving the goals.

“This week’s unprecedented $1.15 billion funding fills a substantial portion of the financing gap for child and maternal health," said Ray Chambers, UN Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria. “While we look forward to additional resources being mobilized, the focus now must fully be at country-level, where the coordinated timing and use of funds with country leadership will ensure that their collective impact is felt by the children and women most in need.”

These funds will help ensure that quality medicines and supplies are readily available in countries and will support innovative delivery of services through results-based financing. These investments will help save newborns from severe infections, protect young children from the risks of diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria, and help women space the births of their children and avoid deaths from post-partum hemorrhage and eclampsia. Moreover, they will target those mothers and children with the greatest needs, typically found in the lowest 40% of the income distribution.

The funding from these four development partners will work in a complementary and coordinated way to target a set of high-burden countries, in support of each country’s own child and maternal health plan. The resources from the United States, UNICEF, and Norway will largely be used to strengthen existing supply systems, and provide a needed injection of life-saving commodities, to ensure they reach the communities that need them. The resources from the World Bank Group will help countries transform their health service delivery for women and children by explicitly tying payments to health service providers to the successful delivery and independent verification of pre-agreed results.

The additional funding will build on substantial success already achieved in both the child and maternal health goals, with both child and maternal deaths having fallen to approximately half of the 1990 figures.

As the global community gathers in New York City this week for the annual United Nations General Assembly, we would like to use this commitment to underscore our collective and individual resolve to keep our promise to the world’s children and mothers by supporting countries to achieve the MDGs, and laying a sustainable foundation for a world free of preventable child and maternal mortality beyond 2015.    We call on others to join us in this once-in-a-generation effort.

Background

Details of the funding commitments are:

  • The World Bank Group will invest USD$700 Million in new funding through December 2015 from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, for results-based financing to improve reproductive, maternal and child health. This new funding will enable national scale-ups of successful pilot projects that have been made possible with support from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund (HRITF) and IDA.
  • UNICEF will allocate USD $300 Million in 2014 and 2015 of expected private donations to intensify efforts to reach MDG 4 and sustain long-term progress toward child survival and development.
  • USAID will, over the next three years, allocate $75 Million of its resources to strengthen systems to deliver life-saving services and ensure access to essential commodities.
  • The Government of Norway will contribute $75 Million over three years to finance both life-saving commodities, and their related delivery costs, as part of a newly formed “Reproductive, Newborn, and Maternal Health Trust Fund.”

United States contributions to global health

In its fiscal year 2013, USAID funded $1.9 Billion in direct support to ending child and maternal death. This was in addition to the US Government’s ongoing contributions to GAVI, UNICEF, the Global Fund, and the World Bank. Much of USAID’s work in other areas have also lead to positive outcomes for maternal and child health. For example, USAID’s work through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), strengthening both global supply chains and supply chain management systems in partner countries, has made it easier to ensure access to needed commodities. All of these efforts build on PEPFAR’s response to women and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, especially work underway to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015 and substantially reduce AIDS-related maternal deaths.

The World Bank Group and Health, Nutrition and Population

The World Bank Group is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, with the goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Improving health is integral to achieving these goals. The Bank Group provides financing, state-of-the-art analysis, and policy advice to help countries expand access to quality, affordable health care; protect people from falling into poverty or worsening poverty due to illness; and promote investments in all sectors that form the foundation of healthy societies.

UNICEF

UNICEF works in over 150 countries to realize children's rights to survive and thrive. UNICEF is the world’s biggest purchaser of vaccines. In 2012, the agency purchased 1.053 billion doses for 96 countries. This purchasing power allows UNICEF to play a critical role in advancing child health. UNICEF hosts the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children, which aims to increase access to medicines and health supplies for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Norway

Norway will contribute $75 Million over three years to finance both life-saving commodities, and their related delivery costs, as part of a newly formed “Reproductive, Newborn, and Maternal Health Trust Fund". Norway already provides close to one percent of its GDP per capita in ODA, with around 13 percent allocated to global health. A major focus is on improving women's and children's health, promoting innovation and more efficient ways of investing in the health of the most vulnerable. Emphasis is on result based financing, fostering the use of innovative technologies in health and improving national and global accountability mechanisms. Norway is also supporting the use of innovative purchasing mechanisms and guarantees to achieve price reductions and savings. The UNFPA hosted RMNCH trust fund aims to efficiently support countries in addressing key barriers to women's and children's access to key services and commodities that can save 6 million lives by 2015. The trust fund is a joint effort by the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, Norway, Sweden, Canada, and France.

Quotes:

"To save the lives of mothers, newborns, and children”, said Raj Shah, USAID’s Administrator, “it is critical that we work with partners to improve the availability of vital services and distribution of quality life-saving commodities and to increase their proper use and uptake. These commitments will make a significant contribution toward achieving MDGs 4 and 5 and ending preventable child and maternal deaths in a generation.”

“We need to inject greater urgency into our collective efforts to save more women’s and children’s lives and evidence shows that results-based financing has significant impact,” said Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group. “The World Bank Group is committed to using evidence-based approaches to help ensure that every woman and every child can get the quality, affordable care necessary to survive and live a healthy, productive life.”

Norway’s Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Global Health ,Tore Godal, said of the commitment, “Norway is incredibly proud to be joining with our partners to make a meaningful impact on the lives of women and children across the world. We believe that this initiative will help save as many as 4.6 million lives of women and children in the next three years alone.”
"This announcement demonstrates our collective commitment to meet MDGs 4 and 5. We cannot abandon our promise to the world's most vulnerable women and children," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. "The commodities procured with these new funds will help us promote local demand for life-saving interventions and make their supply sustainable over the longer term."

Media contacts:

UN Special Envoy on Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria: David Alport, +1 (212) 307-2552, dalport(at)amelior.org
World Bank Group: Carolyn Reynolds, +1 (202) 294-5542, creynolds(at)worldbank(dot)org

USAID: Karl Duckworth, +1 (202) 712-4320, kduckworth(at)usaid(dot)gov
UNICEF: Kate Donovan, +1 (212) 326-7452, kdonovan(at)unicef(dot)org

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/9/prweb11150595.htm.


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