World Bank, Partners Launch Fund for Maternal, Child Health

World Bank, Partners Launch Fund for Maternal, Child Health

The World Bank Group and the governments of Canada, Norway, and the United States have announced the creation of a global financing facility (GFF) to jumpstart efforts to end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.

Developed in collaboration with donor governments, bilateral and multilateral development agencies, foundations, civil society organizations, and the private sector, the GFF will support countries in the developing world in their efforts to mobilize the additional resources needed to scale and sustain essential health services for women, children, and adolescents. Initial donor commitments include $600 million from Norway and $200 million from Canada. Contributions from bilateral development partners will be provided in conjunction with low-interest loans and grants from the International Development Association, the World Bank's fund for the poorest countries, and could leverage up to $3.2 billion in additional funds, for a total of up to $4 billion in financing. In addition, the United States Agency for International Development expects to contribute up to $400 million through its financing mechanisms and public-private partnerships.

Announced in support of Every Woman Every Child — an initiative launched at the 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit — at the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York City last week, the facility is designed to accelerate progress on health-related MDGs and support developing countries in their transition to long-term sustainable domestic financing. One area of focus will be the expansion of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics systems to enable the registration of every pregnancy, birth, and death by 2030 — a critical accountability tool for reducing mortality and ensuring universal access to health care, education, and other basic services.

"In the last year we have estimated the investment needs for countries to end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030…and also to scale up CRVS plans," said WHO director-general Margaret Chan. "We are convinced we can work together so this facility will be the way to channel and leverage efficiently the funding needed to achieve these ambitious but realistic goals."