Barely two months from now, in September 2015, the Millennium Development Goals will expire and MDGs 4 and 5 – reducing child mortality and improving maternal health – will not be achieved.
In an effort to accelerate progress, the Centre for Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University, the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, and the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard School of Public Health have joined forces to unite behind the ambitious but achievable goal of accelerating the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality.
The three institutes hosted a three-day Leadership Workshop in Barcelona, June 28 to July 3, to build the capacity of key players from a group of ‘high burden’ countries, with some of the poorest indicators of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH).
Participants were given an opportunity to upgrade their technical knowledge about global trends in RMNCH and the repertoire of evidence-based interventions available to improve health and survival. Equally, they were helped to deepen and strengthen their leadership skills.
Addressing the inaugural session, Prof. Robert Armstrong, Founding Dean of AKU’s Medical College in East Africa said, “Leadership is critical if we are to achieve the impact on maternal and child health we expect to have in the next 15 years and this workshop provides an ideal environment for this leadership development.”
In his closing keynote address, Prof. Zulfiqar Bhutta, Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University and Co-Director at the Center for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children highlighted the importance of staying the course for maternal, newborn and child health over the next 15 years, the period being covered by the post-MDG Sustainable Development Goals.
He underscored the need to focus on reducing inequities, reaching marginalized populations and including adolescents in global targets for action. Without ensuring that the vision of a world where every woman and every child has equal rights and opportunities for health and development, our declaration of victory in the Millennium Development Goals will remain hollow,” he added.
The workshop was attended by representatives of health ministries and UN agencies from high burden countries across the world. The faculty also represented major leaders in global health from various lead global organizations and universities.