As you read this, representatives from 45 countries, including 23 official country delegations, are gathered for this month's Institutionalizing Community Health Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. In attendance are nearly 400 government officials and health experts who will focus on developing country-specific action plans and learning agendas that address priority issues and challenges to strengthen partnerships with communities as resources.
This month, we also celebrated the real life super women who are transforming maternal and newborn health in Liberia. We visited Haiti, as well, where mobile health teams are bringing family planning methods to the women who need them. And in Nigeria, where the government recently launched three new policies to promote newborn health, we’re supporting the rapid scale up of lifesaving chlorhexidine.
We recently shared our reasons for feeling so passionately about investments in family planning, too. When women are given easy access to contraceptive counseling and services, we can reduce maternal and child mortality by more than a quarter in the global south.
However, continued success in these difficult regions depends heavily on our ability to reach those most in need. To end preventable child and maternal deaths within a generation, we must keep an eye on equity across all services and programs, and reverse the frequent neglect of the poorest and most marginalized.
Koki Agarwal, MD, MPH, DrPH