Women’s and Children's Health in the 2022 Report of Every Woman Every Child

Cover of the Presentation of the Report "Protect the Promise" at the World Health Summit in Berlin Cover of the Presentation of the Report "Protect the Promise" at the World Health Summit in Berlin © WHO, accessed by who.int

The 2022 Progress Report on the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy shows the drastic impact of Covid-19, Conflict and Climate Change

The global movement Every Woman Every Child was first launched in 2010 at the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit with the aim of promoting and intensifying multilateral international collaboration for the health and well-being of women and children. To realize this project, the UN has developed the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, a more specific and detailed plan on the steps to be taken. The Global Strategy’s roadmap was officially born in 2015 and is committed to achieving its goals by 2030; to monitor its actions and the objectives achieved, a report is presented every year. The following brief analysis corresponds to the 2022 report.

The 2022 Progress Report consists of three distinct sections and each presents analyzes on different  topics with specific focuses by country or topic. The starting point of the report is the recognition of the various problems encountered in previous years that led to the failure to keep the promises made. As stated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his introductory message, the initial promise of the Sustainable Development Goals for a fairer world has not been kept. From this observation, Guterres encourages the leaders of the UN countries to faithfully implement the recommendations provided by the report in order to complete the proposed objectives.

Among the main 'culprits' of the failure of the initial project is the impact of the so-called three Cs - Covid, conflicts and climate change. Covid-19 has in fact severely damaged access to health services and the slow post-pandemic recovery has worsened economic conditions, particularly of the poorer classes, making them even more marginalized. In war zones, the second C, these situations are even more pronounced and Covid continues to represent a serious health problem. In addition to Covid, the physical and mental health of women and children in conflict areas is severely threatened by violence, persecution, and human rights abuses. On the other hand, regarding the last C, climate change, this is responsible for the increase of displaced people. Indeed, climate migrants are constantly increasing.

The first section presents an initial assessment of the health of women, children, and adolescents, highlighting the significant inequalities despite the progress made. Infant mortality has in fact fallen sharply, but the conditions of health, education, opportunities, and safety remain mainly determined by the place of birth. Key points of the 2030 agenda are the emancipation of women and greater participation in the civic life of adolescents.

The second section focuses on the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic in the progress of the project. As for the direct effects, the report reports the increase in mortality following the epidemic, its impact on mental health and the greater risk of sexual violence to which women have been exposed. Therefore, to mitigate the direct impact of Covid-19 it is necessary to establish basic health and social services accessible to any social class. Among the indirect effects, the pandemic has intensified the food emergency: about 3.1 billion people cannot afford a healthy diet, 112 million more than in 2019. In fact, the economic impact of Covid has caused strong inflation in food prices. food, thus reducing the economic possibilities for many families and therefore the accessibility to a healthy and nutritious diet.

The third section of the report presents the six areas to be developed and the main actions to be implemented to achieve this goal:

 

  1. Strengthen primary health care systems to deliver essential interventions to all women, children and adolescents. The main goal is to achieve basic health care that of high quality, equitable, and accessible to any social class. Health care systems must be able to provide essential health services with aids for mental health and adequate nutrition. For this to happen, governments will have to invest heavily in health infrastructure and staff.
  2. Improve multi sectoral collaborations so that services are better integrated and reach every woman, child and adolescent. To ensure the health and well-being of women and children, a crucial element is to interrupt the malnutrition-infection cycle by allowing access to clean water, sanitation and a nutritious and diversified diet. In addition, it is necessary to ensure access to social protection services and education / training opportunities for women and children.
  3. Improve women’s empowerment and bolster women’s and adolescent girls leadership opportunities. The report highlights how women's empowerment brings benefits to individual women, families and societies as a whole. Furthermore, the protection of the sexual and reproductive rights of women and adolescents is also vital for the achievement and maintenance of health and well-being. Governments must therefore strive on the one hand to increase female representation in institutions and, on the other, to protect sexual and reproductive rights with adequate legislation.
  4. Advance and leverage private-public partnership to improve funding and services for women, children and adolescents. Public-private partnerships are indispensable for increasing the availability of services and their innovation, especially in countries where the private sector is dominant.
  5. Secure increased financial investments by governments and their partners in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. As previously reported, the Secretary - General Antonio Guterres in the introductory message urges governments to actively engage in the implementation of the project and therefore substantial funding must be directed to the health system. In this way, possible diversion of funds from basic services for women and children will be avoided during unpredictable health emergencies.
  6. Secure the food supply and prioritize humanitarian food assistance while also building more resilient food systems. In contexts of severe food insecurity, food assistance programs must be adequately funded to enable women and children to access a resilient food system.

In conclusion, the impact of the three Cs has severely slowed down the Agenda 2030 roadmap and undermined the previous objectives proposed. In an attempt to improve the health and well-being of women and children, the 2022 Progress Report seeks to reorganize the work to be done by governments by creating six macro-areas to be implemented through substantial investments in health services and in various sectors related (e.g. social protection and civil participation).

The main objective of the 2022 report, and of the 2030 Agenda in general, is to build a health system of high quality, fair and accessible to any social class in any area of ​​the world.

Original report available here: https://reliefweb.int/report/world/protect-promise-2022-progress-report-every-woman-every-child-global-strategy-womens-childrens-and-adolescents-health-2016-2030

by Federica Tognolli

 

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