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International Community Must Prioritize Maternal, Women’s Health In Efforts To Achieve UHC

Devex: Opinion: We must keep maternal health front and center of the UHC conversation
Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi; Bineta Diop, African Union special envoy on women, peace, and security; Mary-Ann Etiebet, lead and executive director at MSD for Mothers; Pape Amadou Gaye, president and CEO at IntraHealth; Edna Adan Ismail, director and founder of the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital and former foreign minister of Somaliland; and Mariam Claeson, director of the Global Financing Facility

“…We must seize all available opportunities to accelerate progress for women’s health as we push forward on the broader global goal of universal health coverage. As leading advocates, we surfaced a few ideas on how to do this — a set of guiding principles and priorities based on our different experiences and lessons learned on the ground through our maternal health initiatives: Define basic maternity and newborn care, and ensure underserved populations are aware of this foundational health care right. … Remember that change begins at the grassroots level, working within existing social structures. … Recognize the need for more trained frontline health care workers with the capacity and support to improve access to quality care. … Engage the local private health sector as an important partner in addressing access and quality issues. … Use pay for performance and other innovative financing approaches. … Strengthen accountability. … Look outside the health system for answers. … An important starting point, and the key to all of this is to enable decision-making that is informed and responsive to local needs. And for this, we must invest in data. … By ensuring access to quality care for women — not just during pregnancy and childbirth but across their life course — we can promote the health, well-being, security, and future prosperity of their children, families, communities, and countries. This ‘mom effect’ is why we must keep maternal health front and center of the UHC conversation” (1/11).