In 2012, rather than holding a stand-alone, multi-day international conference, Countdown has launched its key publications and presented its most recent findings at a number of high-level events throughout the year, ensuring that a range of key international audiences were able to benefit from Countdown data and analysis:
- In March 2012, Countdown released Accountability for Maternal, Newborn & Child Survival: An update on progress in priority countries, the first of an ongoing series of annual reports and country profiles focusing on core indicators selected by the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. The 2012 accountability report was released at the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which took place in Kampala, Uganda from 31st March through 5th April. At that meeting, 1,500 members of parliament and parliamentary staff from 119 countries adopted a historic resolution calling for member-parliaments to take all possible measures to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 by 2015 and to prioritize action and resources for improving the health of women and children.
- On June 13th, Countdown organized a half-day civil society forum at the FHI 360 Conference Center in Washington, DC, in collaboration with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and Save the Children. The forum brought together more than 200 civil society partners from over 40 countries, along with academics, and representatives of health professional associations, United Nations and US government agencies, to discuss progress toward meeting MDGs 4 and 5. The forum provided an introduction to Countdown to 2015 and its work and featured presentations summarizing Countdown’s 2012 findings, as well as discussion of ways to heighten Countdown’s impact and promote evidence-based action at the country level.
- On the following two days, June 14th and 15th, Countdown launched Building a Future for Women and Children: The 2012 Report and was a featured presenter at the Child Survival Call to Action, also in Washington, DC. The Call to Action, hosted by the governments of the United States, India, and Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, brought together 700 leaders and global experts to launch a sustained effort to save children’s lives. An introduction to Countdown and an overview of its 2012 results was presented to a high-level plenary audience on the conference’s first afternoon; a more detailed presentation was made on the second day.
- On July 15th, a summary of Countdown’s most recent findings related to Africa was delivered to 250 delegates, including 20 African heads of state, attending the African Leaders Malaria Alliance summit, which took place alongside the African Union heads of state meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A summary of the findings was presented at the summit’s concluding press conference by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
- On September 23rd, Countdown’s latest data on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health were presented at a high-level side event connected with the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, entitled Keeping Promises, Measuring Results: How Are We Measuring Up?. At a brunch attended by high-level participants from developing and donor nation and co-sponsored with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health and the independent Expert Review Group, Countdown speakers presented a summary of the findings in the 2012 Report as well as analysis of the latest data on financial flows for MNCH and a Countdown case study on child health progress in Niger. Three Countdown articles were published in The Lancet to coincide with this event.
- Throughout the year, Countdown data and publications have been presented and discussed at regional accountability workshops sponsored by the World Health Organization and attended by representatives of governments from high-burden countries in regions throughout Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Countdown plays a key role in accountability related to the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and provides support for countries to conduct their own country-level Countdown processes to help policy makers, health programmers, and advocates to refine integrated, evidence-based national strategies and programs and achieve equitable, sustained, accelerated reductions in maternal, newborn, and child mortality.