'Lives in the balance': global meeting on maternal, newborn and child health: World Health Day saw WHO, UNICEF, health ministers and international agencies meet in New Delhi, India, and make a new commitment: the Delhi Declaration.


The need to increase the scale of interventions to prevent millions of deaths of mothers, newborns and children around the world was the conclusion of the high-level international meeting, 'Lives in the Balance: The Partnership Meeting on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health', held in New Delhi following the global launch on April 7 of the World Health Report. The focus of the meeting was on the continuum of care throughout the life cycle as well as the continuum of care from household to hospital.

The Government of India, the Partnership for Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health (PSMNH), the Healthy Newborn Partnership and the Child Survival Partnership brought together ministers of health from 11 countries, representatives of international agencies, and other stakeholders in a shared effort to mobilise new action for improving maternal, newborn and child health. The Executive Director of UNICEF, Carol Bellamy, and the Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Lee, also attended the meeting. Joyce Thompson represented ICM, as co-chair of the PSMNH with the World Bank.

Technical support for the meeting was provided by WHO, Save the Children --USA, the World Bank, UNFPA and UNICEF. Financial support came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, DFID, JHPIEGO, ACCESS Project and the World Bank.

The inaugural speech at the meeting was given by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Chairman of the National Advisory Council, who also lit a symbolic lamp during the opening ceremony.

The Delhi Declaration on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health

This statement was endorsed by ministers and delegations from Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda, representatives of other governments, the UN, the World Bank, national and international NGOs, professional bodies, academia, and civil society from all continents, assembled in New Delhi, India, to participate in 'Lives in the Balance: The Partnership Meeting on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health'.

The Declaration asserts that: 'the way forward is ... an integrated approach to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, ensuring a continuum of care from pregnancy through childhood, recognizing that maternal, newborn and child health are inseparable and interdependent ...'

A call to action continues:

"Countries should orient their national and sub-national development plans and budgets to fully achieve the maternal and child health MDGs by 2015. For that...

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