Fi­nal iERG Re­port and Ac­count­abil­ity 4 Health

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

The fourth and fi­nal re­port from the in­de­pen­dent Ex­pert Re­view Group on In­for­ma­tion and Ac­count­abil­ity for Women’s and Chil­dren’s Health (iERG) has been re­leased and shared widely around the time of the Septem­ber 2015 United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly that sig­naled the new Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs).

The re­port sig­nals the con­clu­sion of an un­usual ex­per­i­ment in global health. The 2011 Com­mis­sion on In­for­ma­tion and Ac­count­abil­ity (CoIA) was a land­mark mo­ment for women and chil­dren. Born from the UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral’s sig­na­ture Ev­ery Woman, Ev­ery Child ini­tia­tive, the Com­mis­sion sought to mark a new era in the way progress was mea­sured for two crit­i­cally im­por­tant Mil­len­nium De­vel­op­ment Goals.

The com­mis­sion re­de­fined the mean­ing of “mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion” and “mu­tual ac­count­abil­ity,” trans­form­ing a purely tech­ni­cal process of track­ing in­di­ca­tors into a po­lit­i­cal process of eval­u­at­ing those in­di­ca­tors trans­par­ently and demo­crat­i­cally, judg­ing the per­for­mance of in­sti­tu­tions re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing prom­ises and com­mit­ments to women and chil­dren, and act­ing on the re­sults of those eval­u­a­tions and judge­ments.

The re­port has but­tressed that the model of ac­count­abil­ity adopted sought to rec­og­nize the fol­low­ing:

• The con­tin­uum of care and ser­vice de­liv­ery, by re­quir­ing the en­gage­ment of com­mu­ni­ties; pri­mary, sec­ondary, and ter­tiary care; and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, in the pro­vi­sion of ser­vices through­out the life course.

• At ev­ery level, the need for ad­e­quate and con­sis­tent mon­i­tor­ing; timely and com­pre­hen­sive re­view; and ap­pro­pri­ate re­me­dial and con­certed ac­tion by all stake­hold­ers;

• The need to en­gage all stake­hold­ers, and for each par­tic­i­pant to be held ac­count­able for their con­tri­bu­tion; within a so­cial, financial, and po­lit­i­cal ac­count­abil­ity frame­work that op­er­ated at both na­tional and in­ter­na­tional lev­els.

The in­de­pen­dent Ex­pert Re­view Group on In­for­ma­tion and Ac­count­abil­ity (iERG) was cre­ated in 2011 as a mech­a­nism to strengthen ac­count­abil­ity for women’s and chil­dren’s health. It was a body in­vented by the Com­mis­sion on In­for­ma­tio­nand Ac­count­abil­ity (CoIA), chaired by Pres­i­dent Kik­wete of Tan­za­nia and Prime Min­is­ter Harper of Canada.2015 has been a year of re­flec­tion. The UN Sec­re­tary- Gen­eral’s sig­na­ture health ini­tia­tive, Ev­ery Woman, Ev­ery Child, was launched in 2010. It has be­come­one of the fastest grow­ing move­ments in glob­al­health, at­tract­ing over 400 com­mit­ments by 300 part­ners, to­gether with US$60 bil­lion of fi­nanc­ing.

Ban Ki-moon has ob­served that “The­world is cur­rently re­duc­ing un­der-5 and ma­ter­nal deaths faster than at any time in his­tory.” In 49 pri­or­ity coun­tries tar­geted by Ev­ery Woman, Ev­ery Child, achieve­ments have been his­toric. 870 000 new health work­ers. A 49% in­crease in oral re­hy­dra­tion ther­apy for treat­ing di­ar­rhoeal dis­ease. A 25% in­crease in skilled birth at­ten­dance. Progress has ac­cel­er­ated, and the Sec­re­tary­Gen­eral’s Global Strat­egy for Women’s and Chil­dren’s Health has made a cru­cial con­tri­bu­tion to this ac­cel­er­a­tion.

2015 has also been a year of tran­si­tion. Ban Ki-moon has called the process lead­ing to the post-2015 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs), “The Road to Dig­nity”. 17 SDGs have been agreed upon, and health is one of those Goals (SDG-3). Women’s and chil­dren’s health is em­bed­ded within that Goal. In par­al­lel, a new Global Strat­egy has been drafted to meet the chal­lenge of a more in­clu­sive and com­plex era. Agree­ment about the SDGs and the el­e­ments of a new Global Strat­egy does not mean that the ap­proach towomen and chil­dren is “busi­ness as usual.” There are al­ready sev­eral crit­i­cal dif­fer­ences in the ap­proach and at­ti­tudes to women and chil­dren.The Global Strat­egy launched at the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly has a draft fiveyear im­ple­men­ta­tion plan and will be pro­posed for for­mal en­dorse­ment at the World Health As­sem­bly in May 2016 with the fol­low­ing key Prin­ci­ples; 1. Strong coun­try own­er­ship. 2. The high­est-level and broad-based po­lit­i­cal sup­port. 3. Added value. 4. Mo­bi­liz­ing am­bi­tious and con­crete multi-stake­holder ac­tion. 5. A hu­man-rights based ap­proach. 6. Align­ing with SDGs and re­lated pro­cesses and mech­a­nisms.

Dur­ing the launch the United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon had an­nounced over $25 bil­lion in ini­tial com­mit­ments span­ning five years to help end pre­ventable deaths of women, chil­dren and ado­les­cents, and en­sure their health and well-be­ing.

The fi­nal iERG’s 2015 Re­port is leav­ing us with three pow­er­ful Rec­om­men­da­tions for the Post-2015 Vi­sion

1. Global ac­count­abil­ity: By 2016, es­tab­lish and im­ple­ment a global in­de­pen­dent ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nism to mon­i­tor, re­view, and act on re­sults and resources for women’s, chil­dren’s, and ado­les­cents’ health, work­ing across all 17 SDGs, re­portin­gan­nu­ally to the UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral.

2. Na­tional ac­count­abil­ity: By 2016, in all coun­tries es­tab­lish and im­ple­ment trans­par­ent, par­tic­i­pa­tory, demo­cratic, and in­de­pen­dent na­tional ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nisms to mon­i­tor, re­view, and act on re­sults and resources for women’s, chil­dren’s, and ado­les­cents’ health, with spe­cial at­ten­tion to the trans­la­tion of rec­om­men­da­tions into ac­tion and re­port­ing to Heads of State.

3. Ac­count­abil­ity for sus­tain­abil­ity: In 2017, con­vene a global min­is­te­rial sum­mit to re­port on progress to­wards the goals both of the new Global Strat­egy for Women’s, Chil­dren’s, and Ado­les­cents’ Health and the SDGs rel­e­vant to women, chil­dren, and ado­les­cents; and to re­port on how na­tional ac­count­abil­ity in­forms and strength­ens global ac­count­abil­ity.

In con­clud­ing as Africans and Nige­ri­ans, we should ask our­selves the hard ques­tions; to what ex­tend are we em­bed­ding ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency in our work? As we com­mence the post 2015 health agenda do we have trans­par­ent, par­tic­i­pa­tory, demo­cratic, and in­de­pen­dent na­tional ac­count­abil­ity mech­a­nisms that have the ca­pac­ity to mon­i­tor, re­view, and act on re­sults and resources for women’s, chil­dren’s, and ado­les­cents’ health, with spe­cial at­ten­tion to the trans­la­tion of rec­om­men­da­tions into ac­tion and re­port­ing to our lead­ers? If the an­swer is NO, then this is the right time to start cat­alyz­ing ac­tion.

All com­ments to Dr Ma­gashi Pub­lisher Health (health­weekly@ya­hoo.com)

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