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In September 2010 the United Nations Secretary-General launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. As part of their broader responses, the UN health agencies - “H4+” (UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, World Bank, WHO) - collectively proposed to support a group of countries with some of the highest numbers of maternal and newborn mortality to strengthen evidence-based policy and its implementation.
Eight countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Mozambique, Nigeria and the United Republic of Tanzania), representing nearly 60% of the global maternal and newborn deaths, have welcomed the response of the H4+. Ministers of Health, leaders of UN agencies, representatives of the UN Secretary-General’s MDG Advocates Group, civil society, private sector, partner governments and health professionals subsequently gathered at the Greentree Foundation in September 2011 to elaborate the priorities and calendar for the H4+ support. Participants concluded that the H4+ would initiate, alongside the government and development partners, national assessments of the midwifery workforce in all eight countries (including all cadres engaged, e.g. midwives, nurses, doctors, obstetricians and community health workers): as part of the H4+ High Burden Countries Initiative (HBCI).
The national assessments are consistent with an ‘Operational Guidance and Assessment Framework’ (finalized in April 2012) and tailored to the context and individual needs of the countries. Modeled projections of midwifery service needs, workforce demand and supply will inform costed scenarios and policy options. These will be developed and agreed in consultation with key stakeholders.
This presentation provides a short overview of progress as at October 2012.