Partnership for Maternal Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) Policy Brief


The Partnership for Maternal Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), which The Hunger Project (THP) is part of, disclosed a policy brief on “Placing Healthy Women and Children at the Heart of the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Framework” on 31 March 2014. PMNCH through its Post 2015 Working Group is advocating for a Post 2015 framework that addresses women’s and children’s health issues and is rights-based, people-centered, equity focused, gender sensitive, participatory and adopts a cross-sectoral approach to health.

The full PMNCH policy briefing can be downloaded here.

Specifically PMNCH calls for the Post 2015 Framework to:

  • Include a stand-alone health goal that maximizes health and well-being, specifying an end to preventable mortality and morbidity and fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health and rights; achieving this through universal health coverage, with targets that guide countries to leave no one behind

  • Focus on the most critical population groups for maximizing progress towards improving health and development outcomes, particularly newborns and adolescents

  • Integrate health-related targets into all relevant sectors such as nutrition, education, gender, and infrastructure such as water, sanitation and energy to address the underlying determinants of health

  • Include differentiated targets for countries based on their levels of development.

    (Adopted from PMNCH)

For a related blog on Post 2015 agendas, search Post-2015 on our advocacy page.

About Partnership for Maternal Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH).

PMNCH joins the reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) communities into an alliance of more than 500 members, across seven constituencies: academic, research and teaching institutions; donors and foundations; health-care professionals; multilateral agencies; non-governmental organizations; partner countries; and the private sector (PMNCH, 2014).


PMNCH, 2014. Retrieved on 1 April 2014 from

World Health Day 2014: Combating vector-borne diseases


World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of World Heath Organization (WHO) in 1948. Each year a theme is selected that highlights a priority area of public health. The Day provides an opportunity for individuals in every community to get involved in activities that can lead to better health (WHO, 2014).

The theme/topic for 2014 anniversary is vector-borne diseases.

To download and read A global brief on vector-borne diseases by WHO, click here.

Summaries on Vectors and Vector-born diseases (Adopted from WHO)

  • Vectors are organisms that transmit pathogens and parasites from one infected person (or animal) to another.

  • Vector-borne diseases are illnesses caused by these pathogens and parasites in human populations.

  • The most commonly known vectors are :

    • mosquitoes, sand flies, bugs, ticks and snails.

  • The above vectors are responsible for transmitting a wide range of parasites and pathogens that attack humans or animals. Mosquitoes, for example, not only transmit malaria and dengue, but also lymphatic filariasis, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever.

  • They are most commonly found in tropical areas and places where access to safe drinking-water and sanitation systems is problematic.

  • The most deadly vector-borne disease, malaria, caused an estimated 660 000 deaths in 2010. Most of these were African children.

World Malaria Report 2013 is accessible here.

  • The fastest growing vector-borne disease is dengue, with a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the last 50 years.

  • 40% of the world’s population is at risk from dengue (2014)

          To learn more about Dengue, click here.

  • More than half of the world’s population is at risk of these diseases. Increased travel, trade and migration make even more people vulnerable.

Goal: better protection from vector-borne diseases

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the threat posed by vectors and vector-borne diseases and to stimulate families and communities to take action to protect themselves. A core element of the campaign will be to provide communities with information. As vector-borne diseases begin to spread beyond their traditional boundaries, action needs to be expanded beyond the countries where these diseases currently thrive.

More broadly, through the campaign, WHO member states are aiming for the following:

  • families living in areas where diseases are transmitted by vectors know how to protect themselves;

  • travelers know how to protect themselves from vectors and vector-borne diseases when travelling to countries where these pose a health threat;

  • in countries where vector-borne diseases are a public health problem, ministries of health put in place measures to improve the protection of their populations; and

  • in countries where vector-borne diseases are an emerging threat, health authorities work with environmental and relevant authorities locally and in neighboring countries to improve integrated surveillance of vectors and to take measures to prevent their proliferation.


WHO, 2014. Retrieved on 1 April 2014 from

CDC, 2014. Retrieved on 1 April 2014 from


Celebrating International Woman’s Day 8 March 2014

Source: International Women's Day
Source: International Women’s Day

“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

It is a universal fact that women make nearly half of the world’s population (UNFPA, 2013), and their role in societal development and cohesion is indispensable. March 8 is designated as an International Women’s Day (IWD), and the celebration takes place around the world featuring meetings, rallies, conferences, forums and etc.  Similarly, the United Nations (UN) will be celebrating the IWD every year and this year’s theme is “Equality for women is progress for all”. The theme emphasizes how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development (UN, 2014).

To learn more about UN’s International Women’s Day Programs, click here.

The following is a quote from the Huffington Post on IWD and the importance inclusion (both men and women) to ensure equality:

“As a man, I affirm this: Feminism is not exclusively for women or exclusively about women. Feminism is the simple, radical notion that women and girls are human beings. That affirmation means that men are inherently involved in feminism and it means that men’s lives improve when we embrace the full equality of women.” (Gary Barker, Founder of Promundo)

The followings are links to celebrations and programs related to the 2014 International Women’s Day around the world:

UN Programs:


World Water Day 2014


The World Water Day (WWD) 2014 will be celebrated on 22 March 2014 around the world. The main celebration of World Water Day will be organized by United Nations University (UNU) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on behalf of UN-Water. The celebration will  take place at the UNU Heaquarters in Tokyo, Japan from 20-21 March 2014.

The main theme of the 2014 WWD will be water and energy, and the key messages of this year’s WWD are the  following:

1. Water requires energy and energy requires water

2. Supplies are limited and demand is increasing

3. Saving energy is saving water. Saving water is saving energy

4. The “bottom billion” urgently needs access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity

5. Improving water and energy efficiency is imperative as co-ordinated, coherent and concerted policies

The UN-Water, UNIDO and UNU have released  a World Water Day 2014 Advocacy Guide. The main aim of the Advocacy Guide are the following:

– To help communicate the purpose of WWD 2014 and to introduce key information relevant to the theme of WWD2014: water and energy.

– To encourage advocacy and stakeholder action towards improving combined and co-ordinated water and energy management and governance.

– To promote information sharing about WWD 2014 activities, efforts and events, and also to encourage longer-term sharing of success stories and other valuable water and energy knowledge.

To download and read a PDF version of the World Water Day 2014 Advocacy Guide, click here.


Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Approaches to Creating Open Defecation Free (ODF) Community

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Trigger, a 2012 Annual Report publication on the Pan-African Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programmes, states that community empowerment and collective behavioral change including safe sanitation and hygiene with hand washing is an effective and sustainable way to creating open defecation free (ODF) community. According to the report, in community mobilization, self empowerment and collective behavioral change  instead of hardware and shifting the focus from toilet construction for individual households to the creation of ODF villages. (CLTS, 2012).

To read more about CLTS and its programmes around the world, click here.

CLTS, was introduced to Africa by Plan International in 2007 as an effective approach to achieving its child survival and millennium development goals (MDGs). So far, implementation of the ten CLTS programmes in African countries helped reduce infant and child morbidity and mortality, and the program has inspired other national, regional, continental  and multi-country sanitation initiatives. (CLTS, 20120). The followings are African countries in which the project was launched: Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Niger and Tanzania.

To read and download the CLTS programmes and its progress in Africa, click here.

Source: Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Pope Launches End Hunger Campaign

Pope Francis has launched a global campaign of Caritas – the worldwide federation of Catholic service organizations – for the end of world hunger by 2025. To launch the “One Human Family – Food For All” Campaign, the Pope has called for a “Global Wave of Prayer” for the end of hunger at noon on December 10 – Human Rights today, in everyone’s local time. UPDATE: The US site link is here.


Last April, Jouwert van Geene and I had the opportunity to be briefed on the forthcoming campaign by Vatican staff.

We Can’t Wait: Women, Sanitation and Hygiene 2013

WaterAid wecantwait 2013To mark World Toilet Day (November 19, 2013), WaterAid, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and Unilever published this excellent resource on the vital importance of safe sanitation to women. As the report states, “Ending the global sanitation crisis is one of the most urgent developmental challenges of the 21st century. By the end of 2011 there were 2.5 billion people, over one third of the world’s population, living without safe, adequate sanitation and hygiene. The lack of access to this essential service holds back social and economic development through its negative impacts on health, education and livelihoods. It is the principal cause of diarrhoea, the second biggest killer of children worldwide, and it contributes significantly to malnutrition, stunting and the overall global burden of disease.”

The report cites 6 reasons why Sanitation and Hygiene is a gender issue:

  • It enables women to save the lives of their children,
  • It protects women from the threat of violence,
  • It affords privacy and dignity during mentruation,
  • It keeps children in school,
  • It makes it possible for women to be in the workplace.

It concludes with a series of recommendations for governments and for the Post-2015 agenda, with special emphasis on integration with education:

“All governments must have sanitation integrated into education policy supported by sufficient resources and concrete plans to ensure that:

–  All schools have adequate sanitation facilities including handwashing facilities and separate toilets for boys and girls with access for students with disabilities.

–  Specific provision is made at school for establishing proper menstrual hygiene management facilities.

–  Hygiene promotion is featured as an important part of the school curriculum from primary level. “

IYFF – 2014: International Year of Family Farming

LOGO_IYFF_en_webThe United Nations recently launched 2014 to be the International Year of Family Farming. As our friends at FoodTank have posted:”This the first United Nations year that is the result of a campaign by civil society–the World Rural Forum (WRF) campaigned heavily for the year and it was backed by more than 360 civil and farmers’ organizations in five continents.”

FoodTank is collaborating with FAO on the IYFF, and has produced this video – please share it!


Here is the playlist of official videos from the November 22 launch at the UN:



FAO website for IYFF

FoodTank article

IYFF campaign website hosted by the World Rural Forum