In Asia, Women Deliver’s second regional consultation convened close to 50 participants in Dhaka, Bangladesh during the Asia Regional Meeting on Interventions for Impact in Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care held by USAID’s MCHIP program. During two evening satellite sessions, health care professionals, researchers, experts, advocates, and policymakers discussed regional success stories and lessons learned related to MDG5. The first event was opened with an official welcome from Jill Sheffield, president of Women Deliver, and the second evening featured a presentation from Ambassador Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Policy Dialogue, on the post-2015 development framework.
Participants of the meeting discussed strategies to strengthen political and financial commitment to women’s reproductive health throughout the region, with an emphasis on garnering recommendations to improve maternal health in a future development framework. In both working group sessions and presentations, the following key recommendations were discussed by participants and experts:
- ADDRESS UNDERLYING CAUSES OF MATERNAL MORTALITY: As maternal mortality decreases in many countries in Asia, we will need to address underlying causes of maternal morbidity as well as prevention and management of newborn deaths. Newborns have fallen in between the cracks, and the dyad of care between mother and newborn needs to be strengthened. Interventions will need to include access to safe services and improvement of quality prenatal delivery and post partum care.
- REVITALIZE FAMILY PLANNING: Family planning is a key intervention for saving lives of young girls, women and newborns. Family planning needs to be repositioned and revitalized, as family planning today is not seen as a key intervention. We also need to expand access to meet the unmet needs for contraception including that for youth / young people.
- INVEST IN WOMEN: Building an economic case for investment in women is key. Evidence is needed to show that investing in women PAYS in terms of improving her health and quality of life and that of her family and community. More than half of the world’s unpaid labour comes from women, therefore, the contribution of women to the productivity of the nation needs to be included.
- INCREASE RESOURCES AND ACCOUNTABILITY: Resources need to be adequately provided and increased. This includes financial resources, human resources and information resources. Accountability needs to be seriously considered.
- STENGTHEN HEALTH SYSTEMS: Regarding the strengthening of health and related systems, improved access to health services, clean water and sanitation, commodities and supply chain is necessary. Attention should also be given to the continuum of care and provision of integrated services for maternal and new born health as well as the broader integration of services to bridge related systems e.g. health, education and nutrition. Strengthening of quality of care is a priority concern and needs improvement at all levels to effect a functioning health system.
- TARGET UNREACHED POPULATIONS AND YOUTH: Asia has a huge population with disparities in regions, and is diverse with pockets of unreached populations including youth who will need greater attention.
- POLITICAL WILL: The consultation called for a need for a post-MDG framework to complete the unfinished agenda of ICPD and the MDGS, and to focus on priority areas, emerging issues as well as the disparities within and between countries. A post-MDG developmental framework which prioritizes and increases support for maternal health is needed for the Asia-Pacific region. Political will is critical in making this a reality.
The report from all three Regional Consultations (sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, and Asia) is available here.
A list of participants at this consultation, is available here.
- Jill Sheffield, official welcome
- Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Post-2015 Development Framework
- Raj Karim, video below
Women Deliver and the Regional Consultations in the News
- Bdnews24.com: Time to Look Beyond 2015, Say Experts (May 6)
- The Independent: Maternal deaths fall to 194 per 1 lakh in 10yrs, Reveals Health Secretary (May 3)
- The Daily Star: Political will stressed to cut maternal, newborn deaths (May 7)
- The Independent: Stress on management of post-delivery bleeding of mothers (May 6)
- The Daily Star: SE Asia still lacks in maternal care (May 5)
- Bdnews24.com: Celebrities join hands with USAID (May 5)
- Bdnews24.com: Govt focus on expectant mothers at risk (May 4)
- The Daily Star: 'Eclampsia, PPH major causes of maternal mortality' (May 3)
- Bdnews24.com: Global meet on maternal-child deaths opens Friday (May 2)