14 June 2012

A Call To Action and a Flurry of Announcements

World leaders are gathered today to spur action towards ending preventable child deaths. Many new partnerships are being announced as a part of the event. There is an online live stream that you can watch here.

I am going to attempt to keep track of the agreements and announcements here with the aim to update as soon as I get information.

Call to Action Sets Agenda for Reducing Child Deaths

The over-aching event today is the agreement to increase efforts to end preventable child deaths. The event counts 80 governments and many other partners as participants in the two day event.

Participants will sign a general pledge that says in part:
The world has made tremendous strides in reducing child mortality. Over the past 40 years, new vaccines, improved health care practices, investments in education, and the dedication of governments, civil society and other partners have contributed to reducing the number of child deaths by more than 50%. The momentum generated by this unprecedented progress, and the scientific and social advances that underpin it, present an historic opportunity for dramatic declines in preventable child deaths – in high, middle and low-income countries alike.

Through national action and international cooperation, we pledge to take action to accelerate progress on newborn, child and maternal survival. We hold ourselves accountable for our collective progress towards this goal. And on behalf of all children everywhere, we recommit the efforts of our respective governments to give every child the best possible start in life.
Not much has come out in terms of substantive frameworks outside of the listing of what are considered to be five key areas to ensure the further reduction of child mortality:
1. Geography: Increasing efforts in the 24 countries that account for 80 percent of under-five deaths occur

2. High Burden Populations: Focusing country health systems on scaling-up access for underserved populations, to include rural and low income groups

3. High Impact Solutions: Addressing the five causes that account for nearly 60 per cent of child deaths: pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, pre-term births and intrapartum (around the time of childbirth)

4. Education for Women and Girls: Investing beyond health programs to include educating girls, empowering women, and promoting inclusive economic growth

5. Mutual Accountability: Unifying around a shared goal and using common metrics to track progress
Mitchell Names 5 Things UK must be held accountable for

Summarized by Amanda Makulec:
  1. Uphold GAVI replenishment and vaccinate a child every 2 seconds, save a life every 2 minutes. 
  2. Reduce the number of poor women who want access to FP but don't have it by half. 
  3. At the London Olympics, host a summit on child hunger and nutrition.
  4. Through the Girls' Education Challenge Fund to provide up to 1 million girls with schooling.
  5. For every UK citizen, the gov will provide water an hygiene access to someone in a developing country.
$20 Million pledged for diarrhea treatment programs

Public and private partners are coming together to support treatment for diarrhea. They are piggybacking on the recent UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children findings that supported the use of oral rehydration salts, zinc, and amoxicillin as treatment for diarrhea. "[T]he Zinc Alliance for Child Health (ZACH) - a private-public-civil society partnership that includes Teck Resources Limited (Teck), the Micronutrient Initiative, and the Canadian International Development Agency- will allocate $15 million to support the implementation of national scale up plans for zinc and ORS in prioritized high-burden countries. In addition, McCann Health, one of the world’s largest marketing communications companies, committed $5 million of in-kind resources and technical assistance to support the design and implementation of marketing campaigns to increase awareness of and demand for ORS and zinc – a critical barrier to ensuring universal use of these products."

mPowering Frontline Health Workers

The UN Foundation's mHealth Alliance will convene a partnership between USAID, UNICEF, Frontline Health Workers Coalition, Qualcomm, Vodafone, Intel, MDG Health Alliance, GlaxoSmithKline, Praekelt Foundation and Absolute Return for Kids to: 1) crowdsource innovative multi‐media health content; 2) create an online library of downloadable digital health content that can be accessed by organizations in developing countries; 3) produce a digital dictionary to enable integration and standardized reporting across multiple mHealth applications; 4) accelerate the sustainable expansion of mHealth for frontline health workers in at least three developing countries; 5) rigorously evaluate partnership impact, and 6) share experiences through a virtual global learning platform.

“Mobile technologies present an incredible opportunity to provide frontline health workers with immediate access to timely and relevant health information and tools they can use to improve and save the lives of millions of children,” said Patricia Mechael, executive director, mHealth Alliance. “ This new partnership will empower frontline health workers by expanding the use of appropriate, cost‐effective and sustainable mobile technologies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

Here are some quick hitters from a short press release blast:

Saving Children through Behavior Change: Religions in Action
This initiative will work to reduce preventable deaths of children under-five by engaging religious leaders across diverse faiths to be effective drivers of behavior change. The signatories of this commitment will help mobilize and equip religious leaders within their networks as agents of ten behavior changes vital to child survival. The Center for Interfaith Action and Religions for Peace are leading the effort, and are joined by organizations such as Saddleback Church, Catholic Relief Services, Islamic Relief, American Jewish World Service, and many others. These groups will develop relevant training modules and tools to help mobilize and equip religious leaders from diverse faith traditions around this initiative. Successful implementation of this commitment will empower individuals and communities to demonstrably improve the wellbeing of millions of children around the world.
Saving Mothers, Giving Life
Saving Mothers, Giving Life (Saving Mothers) was launched with the goal of supporting countries where women are dying at alarming rates during pregnancy and childbirth to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. A partnership between the U.S. Government, the Norwegian Government, Merck for Mothers, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Every Mother Counts, Saving Mothers intends to help mothers during labor, delivery, and the first 24 hours postpartum – the period when an estimated two out of every three maternal deaths and nearly half of newborn deaths occur. Work is beginning in countries where maternal mortality rates are disproportionately high, starting in districts in Uganda and Zambia. 
The goal of Saving Mothers is to support countries to reduce maternal deaths by up to 50 percent in targeted districts in resource-limited countries. Saving Mothers will develop models of quality maternal health services through district health network strengthening to achieve maximum sustainable impact; galvanize the American public to create a domestic constituency to support saving mothers’ lives around the world; and engage new public and private partners around the world to leverage expertise and co-invest in saving mothers.
Survive and Thrive: Professional Associations, Private Sector and Global Scholars Saving Mothers, Newborns and Children
Survive and Thrive: Professional Associations, Private Sector and Global Scholars Saving Mothers, Newborns and Children aims to improve the quality of facility-based maternal, newborn, and child health services in 24 focus countries. Several organizations – the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Nurse Midwives, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Johnson & Johnson, Laerdal Global Health, and Save the Children – have signed on to the partnership, initiated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Survive and Thrive will “twin” members of U.S. professional health care associations with in-country professional association members to encourage learning and development through a peer-to-peer and partnership approach. This effort also seeks to mobilize and equip senior volunteer members from U.S., international, and national professional associations to strengthen the skills of health workers and champion maternal, newborn, and child health programs in low and middle income countries. In addition, the alliance will nurture emerging leaders in global health by creating Global Health Fellows, a new kind of internship opportunity for newly graduated clinicians. Fellows will have an opportunity to learn in-country, alongside leading experts from U.S. and in-country professional associations, to nurture a passion for global health, and go on to become teachers themselves, building the skills of future clinicians.
Helping Babies Breathe
The Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) global development alliance is a public-private partnership of USAID, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Save the Children, Laerdal Global Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Johnson & Johnson, and the Latter Day Saint Charities to reduce neonatal mortality by increasing the availability of newborn resuscitation during birth. The Alliance seeks to support countries in expanding high quality resuscitation services as part of a broader package of essential newborn care. The Alliance offers evidence-based training, high quality, affordable resuscitation equipment, and technical assistance to support countries in their efforts to improve coverage and quality of newborn resuscitation services as part of national efforts to reduce newborn mortality. Since its inception in June 2010 through March 2012, the alliance mobilized $23 million, trained about 70,000 health providers and provided about 50,000 resuscitation bags and masks in 34 countries. Over the next three years HBB aims to move from pilot to scale in 10 countries.
Saving Lives at Birth
Saving Lives at Birth—a partnership leveraging the collective resources of USAID, the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, and DFID—seeks innovative prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor, hard-to-reach communities around the time of childbirth.

Now in its second call for innovative solutions, the partnership received more than 500 submissions from almost 60 countries. Sixty-five finalists will advance to the final stage of competition at the DevelopmentXChange in Seattle, WA. These 65 innovators come from all around the world. Almost half are from outside the U.S. and a quarter from low-and middle-income countries. Their innovations span science and technology, service delivery, and demand creation—addressing the critical barriers women in developing countries face in accessing life-saving interventions. Maternal and neonatal mortality remains a significant problem globally, with the majority of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. The first call for applications resulted in the selection of the 24 most promising solutions to accelerate substantial and sustainable progress against maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths at the community level.
Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Health
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and USAID are pleased to announce the launch of a joint program called Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) Health. PEER Health will provide small grant awards to developing country researchers in low income GHI countries who collaborate with USAID missions and NIH supported scientists around country specific strategic health priorities. The focus of the first round of PEER Health is child survival in support of the Call to Action to end preventable child deaths, emphasizing the improved implementation of integrated biomedical, behavioral, social and public health interventions to reduce causes of morbidity and mortality among young children. The most vulnerable populations within low income countries – the poorest quartile, children outside family care, and HIV+ children – are of particular emphasis for this solicitation. The PEER Health program hopes to accelerate progress towards the GHI country health goals by addressing critical issues in implementation and scale-up of health interventions and through leveraging the capacity and investments of global health research at NIH. PEER Health will be managed by the National Academies of Sciences and the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) will oversee the review of the Child Survival Grants. An RFA for the first round of the program will be posted on the Academies website on June 22, 2012.