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Analysis Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health

Prioritising women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health in the post-2015 world

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 14 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4327

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  1. Lori McDougall, senior technical officer, policy and advocacy1,
  2. Anita Sharma, senior director2,
  3. Jennifer Franz-Vasdeki, consultant1,
  4. Allison Eva Beattie, consultant1,
  5. Kadidiatou Touré, technical officer1,
  6. Kaosar Afsana, director3,
  7. Amy Boldosser-Boesch, interim president and chief executive officer4,
  8. Lola Dare, president5,
  9. Flavia Draganus, communications and advocacy manager6,
  10. Kate Eardley, senior health policy adviser7,
  11. Cecilia Garcia Ruiz, director of gender programmes8,
  12. Lars Gronseth, senior adviser9,
  13. Katja Iversen, chief executive officer10,
  14. Shyama Kuruvilla, senior strategic adviser11,
  15. Allison Marshall, senior advocacy adviser12,
  16. Betsy McCallon, executive director13,
  17. Susan Papp, director of policy and advocacy10
  1. 1The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, World Health Organization, 1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland
  2. 2Millennium Development Goals Initiatives, UN Foundation, Washington, DC 20006, USA
  3. 3Health, Nutrition & Population, BRAC, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  4. 4Family Care International, New York, NY 10006, USA
  5. 5CHESTRAD International, Ibadan, Nigeria
  6. 6Every Woman Every Child, UN Foundation
  7. 7World Vision International, Middlesex UB11 1FG, UK
  8. 8Espolea, Mexico City, Mexico
  9. 9Global Health, Education and Research, Norad, Oslo, Norway
  10. 10Women Deliver, New York, NY 10012, USA
  11. 11Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, World Health Organization
  12. 12International Planned Parenthood Federation, London SE1 3UZ, UK
  13. 13The White Ribbon Alliance, Washington, DC 20036, USA
  1. Correspondence to: L McDougall mcdougalll{at}

Lori McDougall and colleagues set out a three point agenda for strengthening advocacy: investing in multipartner national platforms for action; innovative communication circuits to unite advocacy; and multidonor funding mechanisms to scale up advocacy efforts

Advocacy is the process of bringing evidence and information to bear on the decision and ability to act in response to people’s needs. Advocacy and communication shape opinion, crystallise common or shared thinking, mobilise action, and drive decision making. The result of advocacy and communication can be political will, the decision to mobilise resources, policy and planning, reprioritisation, and stronger accountability.

Since their adoption, the millennium development goals (MDGs) have played a crucial role in improving global health. The MDGs raised awareness of key priorities for health and development, stimulated policy and budget attention, and created a common agenda for action. Child health was prioritised by MDG 4 calling for a two thirds reduction of deaths in children under 5 years old, maternal health was promoted by MDG 5a calling for a three quarters reduction in maternal deaths by 2015, and the MDG 5b ambition was to ensure universal access to reproductive health. Despite significant progress, MDGs 4 and 5 will not be met. Other health goals, including MDG 6 (on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis) and MDG 1c (hunger), are marked by major gaps in progress for women and children.

Launched in 2010, the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (“Global Strategy”) has fuelled efforts to deliver the MDGs. The Global Strategy and the Every Woman Every Child advocacy movement have promoted collective action, joint messaging, and effective partnerships. These efforts have led to more money, improved policies and service delivery, and a new focus on accountability and multi-stakeholder partnerships (box 1).1

Box 1: Every Woman Every Child: a joint platform for action

In 2010, there was a high degree of consensus and commitment …

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