For over 60 years, FIGO has collaborated with the world's top health bodies to work towards the improvement of women's health globally.
FIGO is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), and attending the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, 20th - 28th May, 2019.
Read our statement on the Director-General's report on further progress towards the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
FIGO welcomes the update on the status of more than 30 health related indicators reported in the World Health Statistics 2018 report.
SDG3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages – is a vital framework. We appreciate that WHO has based the Thirteenth General programme of Work on the Sustainable Development Goals and that your three strategic priorities – universal health coverage, health security and improved health and wellbeing – encapsulate each of the health related targets encompassed by Goal 3.
FIGO is particularly impressed to see the 1990 under-five mortality rate has dropped from 93 per 1000 live births to 39 per 1000 live births in 2017. We however note that the greatest risks still occur in the first month of life due to prematurity, intrapartum-related events such as birth asphyxia and birth trauma, and neonatal sepsis which accounts for almost three quarters of neonatal deaths. If we are to reach the SDG3.2 target to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births, we still have a lot of work to do.
Availability of high quality care, information and support for health care professionals to ensure accountable care is fundamental to ensuring every woman achieves the highest possible standards of physical and mental health and wellbeing throughout her life. In many countries, weak health systems remain an obstacle to progress and lead to gaps in coverage. This is reflected in three core areas of the WHO report:
- the broad gap between adolescent birth rates between Western Pacific Region (14 births per 1000 adolescent girls) and African Region (99 deaths per 1000 adolescent girls). With globally estimated 12.8 million births annually amongst adolescent girls, the unmet need for modern contraceptives in the Africa region must be addressed.
- lack of any update on progression towards the SDG3.1 target to reduce maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births. 2015 data, which reflects that 44% reduction in maternal mortality that was achieved under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG 5), is still being cited. The WHO report clearly addresses that of the estimated 303,000 women worldwide who die during pregnancy and childbirth, almost all (99%) occur in low-and middle income countries and almost two thirds (64%) in the African Region; highlighting that less than half of all births in several low and low-middle-income countries receive care from a skilled health provider.
- many countries lack the regional and national information necessary for effective health policymaking, because they do not have access to data on their entire populations. Without reliable, timely and disaggregated data, it is very hard to determine where progress is being made towards the SDGs, or if the goals are becoming unachievable. Therefore, FIGO appreciates that WHO is supporting member states in strengthening reporting on the 2030 Agenda through your SCORE Technical package, including surveying populations and health risks, counting births, deaths and causes of death; enabling data use for policy and action to accelerate improvement.
With only 11 years until the SDG3 targets, incorporating 26 individual indicators, making it the largest number of proposed targets out of any of the 17 SDGs, are due, there’s still so much more work to be done to continue to help make pregnancy and childbirth safe for women across the globe.
FIGO, and our 132 member societies, are among the many organisations working to accelerate efforts and activities to reach SDG targets, especially in the area of safe motherhood and newborn survival, but also NCDs, Environmental Health, and Violence Against Women. We actively promote sexual and reproductive health and rights and services through education, research and advocacy, as well as through the provision of accessible, efficient, affordable, sustainable and comprehensive reproductive health services and work to make universal health coverage (UHC) really work for women.
FIGO hopes that we can use our experience and professional expertise, and unified commitment to addressing the SDG targets, and collaborate with the WHO to help deliver the three strategic priorities outlined in your Thirteenth General Programme of Work, 2019 – 2023.