The Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund - Business Plan Phase III (2018-2022)

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1. Executive Summary

The third phase of UNFPA’s Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund (MHTF), from 2018 to 2022, lays out a roadmap for providing maternal and newborn health through a people-centered, human rights-based approach. Fully aligned to UNFPA’s Strategic Plan (2018-2021), the MHTF directly contributes to UNFPA’s transformative result of “ending preventable maternal deaths.” For Phase III, the MHTF has broadened its scope to further contribute to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and accelerating progress towards the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action. Its focus on maternal health includes support to newborn health, which is explicitly reflected in Phase III as maternal and newborn health are indivisible.

The MHTF’s commitment and vision for Phase III is one where women and girls have equitable and accountable access to quality sexual and reproductive health services. These must allow them to be healthy and thrive, transforming their lives and societies, and driving the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, Phase III aims to contribute to the global target of having fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030 (Goal 3, Target 1). While globally, maternal mortality has dropped by two-thirds in the last 25 years, reachin the global SDG target by 2030 will require substantial additional efforts and funds, both domestic and international, to tackle the persistently high number of 303,000 preventable maternal deaths per year.

This Business Plan builts on evidences and lessons learned from previous phases of the MHTF to support countries to strengthen their health system to improve maternal and newborn health through technical guidance and startegic interventions in the MHTF’s four focus areas: midwifery, emergency obstetric and neonatal care, maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response, and obstetric fistula and other obstetric morbidities. The MHTF supports women, newborns, and adolescent girls across their lifespan in 32 countries with high burden of maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity and puts a specific focus on indigenous women, and women and girls who are most disadvantaged, including those in fragile settings, and who are displaced. In Phase III, the four focus areas of MHTF will be further integrated and linked with other sexual and reproductive health programmes, including post-partum and post-abortion family planning, comprehensive sexuality education and prevention and treatment of HIV/STIs. Finally, reproductive health morbidities will be addressed in a more focused manner with access to cervical cancer screening and treatment, and safe abortion (where legal) and post-abortion care strengthened.

The Result and Indicator Framework for Phase III is fully aligned with UNFPA’s Strategic Plan and is based on a menu of strategic interventions from which countries can select based on their needs. The strategic interventions of the MHTF complement and reinforce efforts under other funding streams, including other UNFPA’s resources, to increase maternal and newborn health and realize sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. MHTF in Phase III will facilitate sustainable change in countries through its catalytic effect and strength in leveraging partnerships at the global, regional and national levels, including through H6 partnership and technical support in countries.

Strengthening resource mobilization efforts to increase its funding base, and further exploring public and private partnerships and innovations will be a priority. These measures will aim at supporting MHTF interventions to realize more sustainable long-term results in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls, across the continuum of care, with no women or newborn left behind.