Launching the partnership for maternal, newborn and child health: after a number of recent changes in the global agencies working for mothers' and babies' wellbeing, ICM's role is at the heart of a new and powerful partnership.

Since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed in 2000 to include the two targets of major reduction in mortality of mothers and children, it has repeatedly been said that no new evidence or research is needed--we know what to do, we just need to do it. The World Health Report 2005 stated 'With today's knowledge and technology, the vast majority of the problems that threaten the world's mothers and children can be prevented or treated.'

The Report also described the need to take action as 'a moral and political imperative'. In other words, it is not the knowledge that is lacking, nor the technology, nor even the resources--but the will to act.

The latest move to establish a truly powerful partnership reflects the recognition that mothers', babies' and children's health is all interdependent, and needs to be maintained as a continuum.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) has been created from three existing alliances: the Partnership for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health, based at WHO in Geneva, Switzerland: the Healthy Newborn Partnership, based at Save the Children, USA: and the Child Survival Partnership, based at UNICEF, New York, USA.

The new organisation will be officially launched on September 12, 2005, at the UN's 2005 World Summit, which is planned to analyse progress towards achievement of the MDGs.

Once launched, the Partnership will be based at WHO in Geneva, and will focus its support on country-level endeavours to expand access to essential interventions for reducing mortality among mothers, babies and children: on advancing the adoption and development of cost-effective, evidence-based approaches to reduce mortality; and promoting greater co-ordination and co-operation among stakeholders.

ICM represents health professionals worldwide

The ICM, which has held the post of co-chair in the two previous global bodies aiming for safer motherhood--the Partnership for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health and the Inter-Agency Group for Safe Motherhood--continues to take on a major role. In this new partnership, the ICM will represent all the health professionals who are closely concerned with the three areas of care. In particular, the international groups directly represented will be:

* International Federation of Gynecology & Obstetrics (FIGO)

* International Council of Nurses (ICN)

* Council of International Neonatal Nurses (CINN) and the

* International Pediatric Association (IPA).

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