PMNCH for Universal Health: Women, Children and Adolescents

February, 2023

As we cross the half-way point of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Era, progress for ensuring universal access to health and well-being services for women, children and adolescents across the globe, is insufficient to meet the 2030 deadline.  

We are proud that World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) has recently become a partner of PMNCH- the world’s largest alliance of > 1,300 partner organisations across 192 countries working in partnership to ensure the universal health and well-being for all women, children and adolescents globally. They bring a hugely important primary health perspective to the ensuing discourse on criticality of Primary Health Care (PHC) within Universal Health Coverage (UHC). 

Skilled and competent health workers are an essential element of a robust well-functioning health system . Front-line health care providers have a unique role in identifying and supporting advocacy efforts for critical issues and challenges within women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health (WCAH) and well-being.

Given their immense value, PMNCH has a dedicated constituency to the health care professional associations (HCPA). This constituency comprised of 55 member organizations from 24 countries, including several global associations, such as IPA, ICN, ICM, FIGO, COINN, representing millions of health professionals globally. Within the HCPA constituency, organisations provide immense value in brokering knowledge, engaging with key partners and networks and provide critical direction and voice from ‘the field’ to ensure the success of campaigns advocating for better services, policies and investment in WCAH. The HCPA’s are also critical in promoting accountability for safe, respectful and efficient healthcare services for WCAH.

However, the real power of this constituency, lies in the ethos and spirit of cross-disciplinary way of working that has been cultivated within the HCPA constituency. Organisations across cadres and disciplines have utilised this platform to come together, share their knowledge and ideas and collaborate. The platform has been catalytic in developing transformative ideas and opportunities to progress the agenda for WCAH. 

Across 2022, the HCPA has led on the development of several key initiatives including Joint statement on Respectful Care as a response to What Women Want and Honouring Women’s Demands paper and Joint statement on health workforce strengthening. This constituency has also provided an invaluable contribution across PMNCH’s knowledge and accountability products, including flagship accountability products, such as the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women, Children and Adolescents’’ Health (2016-2030) progress report “Protect the Promise” launched at the World Health Summit in Berlin.   
The HCPA are also active advocates at international fora, and have contributed greatly to flagship events, such as Lives in the Balance Summit in May, and the dedicated health care professional webinar series co-hosted with WHO, Children in All Policies 2030, BMJ and PMNCH on marketing of formula milk in September.

Looking forward to 2023 there are several hallmark projects in the pipeline for which the HCPA constituency will be taking an active role. This includes – the upcoming decade update to the Born Too Soon Report to be launched at the AlignMNH conference in Cape Town, South Africa in 8-11th May. HCPA members have been actively contributing to the writing, communication and advocacy of this report. The HCPA’s have also developed statements on climate change and respectful care and 2023 will see a further follow up on these statements.  An important hallmark event for PMNCH is 1.8 Billion Young People for Change campaign which includes the world’s largest convening of young people, to be held in October 2023 as the Global Forum for Adolescents, strongly supported by HCPA. 

Furthermore, in the year ahead, 2023, will feature a series of high-level discussions including on the occasion of the UHC and the Pandemic-Preparedness High-Level Summits and SDG review Summit in September. These high-level meetings will provide a critical opportunity for the HCPA to engage with a unified voice in promoting critical issues related to WCAH and ensuring that the health workforce is supported and protected. 

WONCA’s participation within this dynamic constituency will be invaluable. It is only by working together that we can truly deliver high quality, universal health to every women, child and adolescent.  

By Teesta Dey and Ilze Kalnina