By ORTON KIISHWEKO, 2nd May 2011 @ 20:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 3285
NEW recommendations calling for an unprecedented level of accountability to save the lives of more women and children in developing countries were agreed upon yesterday by the United Nations Commission on Information and Accountability for women's and Children's health.
President Jakaya Kikwete, who is the co-chair of the Commission with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said the new approaches would help ensure that pledges by developed countries are honoured and resources given to developing countries are spent in the most effective way to save lives.
"Our interest is to start by following up on the $40bn pledged by developed countries to see that promises made by respective countries are reached and go to where they are needed," noted President Kikwete.
He added: "We also agreed on full work mechanism and a team of experts will be set up by the UN Secretary General to do periodic evaluation of what's going on in holding the pledgers and receivers accountable."
The president stated that at the last Summit, there was a pledge of $40bn, thus there was need to get a mechanism to make developed countries accountable to their commitments and developing countries be accountable for the money they receive.
President Kikwete noted that the move meant to benefit developing countries, noting that 92 per cent of the death of mothers and children happen in 74 developing countries of Africa and Asia.
Ten recommendations included specific approaches to help countries develop better ways of gathering important health data to improve understanding of health needs and where resources should be focused.
The recommendation document, to be handed over to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, also pushes for a national and global oversight to establish a feedback mechanism that supports continous improvement in delivery of health services for women and children.
The UN Commission also advised monitoring progress based on specific indicators, such as the number of women who have access to skilled care during child birth and the number of children treated for pneumonia.
President Kikwete said all partners were mutually accountable for the promises they make and the health policies and programmes they design and implement.
He noted further that tracking resources and results of public health spending is critical for transparency, credibility and ensuring that much needed funds are used to save the lives of women and children.
The recommendations which come after more than five months of indepth discussions across a high level group of global leaders were delivered at the conclusion of the second and final meeting.
"What gets measured, gets done. Timely, reliable and accessible health information is critical for improving health outcomes," said World Health Organisation Director General Dr Margaret Chan.
Dr Chan said more than 100 countries in the world had no well developed systems for registering births and deaths and that there was need to know statistics in order to measure the successes of investments in health.
The International Telecommunications Union Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun Toure, said there were 5.2bn mobile phone subscribers and that ICT can improve information flow from doctors to patients and disseminate information to local communities.
"ICT is just a tool to expedite and act as a catalyst in assisting to reach MDG 4 and 5," he said, adding, "with mobile connectivity now widespread in even the poorest countries, ICTs offer a powerful opportunity to bridge the health development gap."
New tools like social media can also be used to create safe and empowering spaces for women to obtain up-to-the-minute health information. The Commission is part of initiative launched at UN in September last year targeting 16m women by 2015.
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