Maternal mortality and morbidity can be reduced and prevented using cost effective approaches and interventions. For maternal and newborn health to record appreciable achievement, other social determinants must also be recognized and attended to. With integrated of multi-sectoral policies now coming into play across the continent, the provision of robust approaches that enhance advocacy, policy dialogue, and also planning are almost guaranteed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health released the RMNCH Policy compendium. The compendium now serves as the living document to influence policy and also for policy regulation. It serves many purposes that aim to advance the health of women and children, particularly by presenting health-system related policies that seek to deliver proven interventions to women and children alongside other integral policy changes. By making health related and multi-sectoral policies an important focus, this compendium can provide an integrated approach to policy dialogue.
The compendium now serves as the living document to influence policy and also for policy regulation. It serves many purposes that aim to advance the health of women and children, particularly by presenting health-system related policies that seek to deliver proven interventions to women and children alongside other integral policy changes. By making health related and multi-sectoral policies an important focus, this compendium can provide an integrated approach to policy dialogue.
Many policy recommendations in the compendium were gathered from key United Nations reports related to the MDGs. Multi-sectoral policies that influence service delivery and RMNCH outcomes have been categorized into seven topic areas in respect to the direction of sustainable development in the post 2015 development agenda. The multi-sectoral policy topic area includes; inclusive economic development, inclusive social development, environmental sustainability, peace and security, and good governance.
Policies are the real drivers of change. Intervening in policy making and managing changes of unsuccessful policy decisions is an important part of MNCH advocacy. Good policies are vital in ensuring that all women and children have the opportunity to achieve the highest standard of health.
Working across multiple sectors is also essential to better health oriented public practices. When health practitioner’s work intersects in other policy decisions it ultimately strengthens decision-making. In fact, the kind of evidence government, non-governmental agencies and major decision makers require can often be best provided in a multi-sectoral context.
The huge number of maternal and newborn deaths that are recorded yearly across the continent can be prevented with effective and affordable interventions. Improving quality of interventions from all sectors should remain a key focus for the post 2015 agenda. It is important to note that there are a lot social determinant that are directly and indirectly concern the lives of women and children and these should also be addressed.
Reducing maternal mortality across the world, especially in developing countries, will remain a tall order without paying due attention to education, income, energy, housing, improved water sources to aid hygiene and sanitation. In many communities these interventions don’t reach their target audiences . Women still travel several miles to get water that is adequate for consumption and use at the most basic level.
Health specific policies that tie into multi-sectoral policies are crucial to RMNCH efforts continent-wide because they establish an environment conducive for health promotion; and a legal and technical basis from which RMNCH interventions are delivered.
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Views expressed are that of the author.
***This piece was first published on the African Union website CARMMA. It was republished here with the permission of the author.