Session 200 Countdown to 2015 for maternal, newborn, and child survival—the 2010 report


  • Welcome and introduction of speaker
  • More than counting numbers
    Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF
  • Countdown to 2015 . . . monitoring progress & advocating for solutions
    Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Professor & Founding Chair, Women and Child Health Division, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, and Co-chair of 2010 Countdown Group
      pdfDownload Powerpoint [PDF – 2.42 MB]
  • Mortality and coverage: where are we in 2010?
    Tessa Wardlaw, Chief Statistics and Monitoring, UNICEF, and Jennifer Bryce, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
      pdfDownload Powerpoint (Wardlaw) [PDF – 1.76 MB]
      pdfDownload Powerpoint (Bryce) [PDF – 2.94 MB]
  • Financing MNCH: current levels, the need, and the gap
    Peter Berman, Lead Health Economist, The World Bank
    pdfDownload Powerpoint [PDF – 371.94 KB] 
  • Countdown to 2015 at Women Deliver and beyond: sessions and events
    Flavia Bustreo, Director, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (PMNCH)
      pdfDownload Powerpoint [PDF – 619.6 KB]

Session Report

session200This session presented key findings from the latest Countdown to 2015 report, including updates on mortality; coverage data on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) interventions; and results from analysis of financing for MNCH and the identified gaps.  


UNICEF’s new chief opens Countdown to 2015 main session with call for statistical and moral success

The last thing the women and children need is a statistical success which masks a moral failure,” said UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake.

UNICEF’s new Executive Director, Anthony Lake called on professionals and statisticians at the Countdown to 2015 Conference to beware of creating a “statistical success”  and a  “moral failure”.   Mr Lake called for some 300 professionals at the Decade Report Session of the Countdown to 2015 at Women Deliver not hide

inequities in health care delivery to the poorest, most vulnerable and most isolated:   “The last thing the women and children need is a statistical success which masks a moral failure,” said Mr Lake.

Admitting that some progress is being made to save both child and maternal lives, Mr Lake pointed out that the Countdown Decade Report is important in that it reveals the startling truth:   “We are not making enough progress: 19 million children and women have died because of treatable causes since the last Countdown report (in 2008).”  Mr Lake emphasized that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were inter-connected, linking girl’s education and empowerment to health of women and children: connection between saving mothers’ and children’s lives:  “I know that saving mother’s lives (MDG5) is the single most important factor in saving children (and achieving MDG 4)…and reducing global poverty (MDG1).”  He concluded by applauding the health care professionals’ work and action:  “We can do this, but only by working in partnership with governments, civil society…and most of all, families who are most affected.  We have a tremendous responsibility to do what we must do—now!

Introducing the speakers, Dr FLAVIA BUSTREO, Director Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, also highlighted the Countdown to 2015 at Women Deliver sessions, the newly-released Countdown to 2015 Decade Report (2010)  and the products associated with the Report.

Dr ZULFIQAR A. BHUTTA presented the background of the Countdown to 2015, tracing the evolution of the Countdown Initiative from the Bellagio Group on Child Survival in 2003, to its development of the Countdown to “a social movement”.  Dr Bhutta quoted Lancet editor and long-time collaborator of the Initiative:  “The Countdown process….has evolved rapidly into a scientific and social movement to prevent the needless deaths of women and children.”  Dr Bhutta noted that for him, as academic outside the UN system, the importance of the Countdown is that it provides an independent, credible body which marks progress towards the MDGs and raises issues of health systems, equity, justice, social determinants, community engagement and empowerment of women with the aim of bringing about child survival and saving women’s lives.

Dr TESSA WARDLAW and Dr JENNIFER BRYCE represented the Coverage Working Group. 

Dr WARDLAW described the separate country profiles as “the heart of the Countdown Report”.  She spoke of the compilation of these profiles, their data sources, the focus on coverage indicators, factors behind the choice of the indicators and the meaning of several key graphs in the country profiles.  “Countdown data are powerful instrument for highlighting successes and identifying challenges for decision-makers, ” concluded Dr Wardlaw.

Dr JENNIFER BRYCE pointed out that the Countdown Decade 2010 Report has both good and bad news:  the data show that there is variable coverage across the continuum of care, from pre-pregnancy through child birth, neonatal period and until five years of age.  MDG 4: While 19 of the 68 Countdown countries are on track to achieve MDG 4, and 17 countries have reduced child mortality by at least half, 49 Countdown countries are not on track to achieve MDG4 and child mortality declines have slowed in 12 countries. She noted that exclusive breastfeeding is a major contributor to child survival.  MDG 5: There has been mixed progress in family planning coverage since the year 2000. “Refuse complacency,” said Dr Bryce.  “Stay the course in child survival and make delivery safe for mothers and newborns, and re-energize family planning…Harness the power of good, recent country specific information to make the world a better place for every mother, newborn and child.”  Dr Bryce urged everyone to “act now” on the Report’s main action points, including:  


  • To deliver interventions close to home;
  • To act on the data to improve programmes;
  • To push delivery to the community;
  • To address barriers to inequity; and
  • To ensure every woman and child receive quality care



-Representing the Finance Working Group, Dr Berman asked how to make the coverage happen and be sustainable. He said the Working Group focussed on three tracks: estimates of ODA for MNCH,   the analysis of the financing gap for MNCH 2008-2015 and the analysis of domestic spending on MNCH.

The good news, pointed out Dr Berman, is that total financing to MNCH has increased dramatically since 2005.  However, a major financial gap still remains.   Dr Berman compared the different global mechanisms which have calculated the financing gap for MNCH, noting that different starting points and assumptions explained the substantial difference in estimated gap between the Countdown and High-Level Task Force on Innovative Financing. Either way, underlined Dr Berman, the main conclusion remains the same:  there is a major finance gap to achieve MDGs 4 and 5, and that would be reduced significantly if donor and government countries would fulfill promises already made.  “The way forward is to continue this (financial analytical) work and improve it.”

Session 200 Photo Gallery