After decades of neglect, significant progress has recently been made towards improving the health of women and children around the world. This unprecedented global momentum on maternal and child health finally translated into pledges for action, culminating in the launch of the United Nations Secretary General's Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health in September 2010 with global leaders recognizing that the health of women and children is central to progress on all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These pledges (from governments, donors, civil society and the private sector) now amount to an unprecedented $70 billion.
Further proof that we can achieve the MDGs came with new World Health Organizations statistics (Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2010) confirming a reduction in the number of women dying in childbirth, by as much as a third in parts of the world. This has made it clear that when the right maternal health investments are made in the right areas we can save the lives of millions of women and newborns in the world’s most vulnerable areas.
The White Ribbon Alliance believes that as citizens we now have a key role in actively holding governments and health systems leaders to account for ensuring that these pledged are delivered so that women and their families have access to life-saving health care.
WRA India holds regular district level public hearings to mobilize community involvement in holding the government to account of health budget allocation
Accountability in Action
Since 2010 the White Ribbon Alliance has honored its commitment to engage members in ensuring that MNCH is a priority issue for governments - and in holding them accountable for the commitments they have made, such as increased budget support.
The White Ribbon Alliance fully supports the recommendations from the World Health Organization Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. National White Ribbon Alliances are now scaling up their accountability efforts and disseminating key findings to heads of state, parliamentarians and other stakeholders in country, including civil society.
- At the Global level, members have been raising the profile of Every Woman Every Child and pushing to promote the issue of accountability as key to driving progress.
- At the Regional level, National Alliances have joined efforts to exhort governments to deliver on national targets such as those made at the African Union.
- At the National level, a number of National Alliances have implemented accountability and advocacy activities which led to tangible changes for women and children.
- At the Grassroots level WRA is supporting a number of accountability efforts driven by organizational members.
WRA Tanzania White Ribbon Day 2012—Engaging the Public to Demand Accountability in Improving Maternal Health
On March 5, 2012, White Ribbon Alliance Tanzania (WRATZ) celebrated National White Ribbon Day by mobilizing a diverse group of community members to publicize safe motherhood commitments, and to advocate at the national level for their implementation. The theme was ‘Saving the Lives of Mothers and Newborns is in your Hands - Be Accountable’ with the focus of White Ribbon Day on engaging stakeholders to demand delivery on Tanzania’s existing maternal health commitments.
White Ribbon Day achieved its goal of raising awareness about the discrepancy between policy pledges and action. The celebration was attended by approximately 500 community members and NGO representatives, who all received resource materials to empower them as advocates for change. The event was also attended by high level politicians including Madam Salma Kikwete, Wife of the President and Chairperson of the WAMA Foundation, the Regional Commissioner, and United Nations representatives. Seven local and national newspapers covered the event, including The Citizen and Daily News, as well as six prominent television stations.
Click here for more about WRA Tanzania and White Ribbon Day 2012
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Rose Mlay stresses that good communication between organizations like White Ribbon Alliance and the community, more broadly leads to respect and trust with families and the community at large.