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Virtual PMNCH 26th Board Meeting

14-15 December 2020 - The PMNCH Board met virtually for its 26th meeting on 14 and 15 December 2020. The meeting primarily focused on the need to protect the progress made to date on improving the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents, given the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was done in the context of deciding on what should be done going forward, as proposed by the PMNCH’s COVID-19 Call to Action campaign plan that was approved during the deliberations. In addition, the Board reflected on the work done to date in 2020, agreed on how PMNCH will restructure its governance to keep on responding to the challenges COVID-19 presents, while working more effectively with partners, and approved the proposals for a refreshed PMNCH brand and the proposed Digital Action Plan.

The Board meeting was led by the Board Chair, Rt Hon. Helen Clark who acknowledged the extraordinary times and the impact COVID-19 has had on the work of PMNCH. “Its impact has been comprehensively awful for economies, societies and health systems, and the greatest relevance to PMNCH is how it has threatened the gains that have been made in women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health.” She also recognized the work PMNCH has done during the pandemic including rallying funds to support women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health services. She said, “It was all the more encouraging to see serious pledges made to women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health last week” …referring to pledges made at Lives in the Balance Summit. “PMNCH worked so hard to see $20billion in pledges. It shows that partnerships like ours do occupy a unique space in the spectrum”.

PMNCH vice-Chairs Dr Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and Darren Welch, Director, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Government of the United Kingdom both made keynote remarks during the meeting. The Governments of India and the United Kingdom are two of the group of 11 countries and foundations that have contributed to the 20.6 billion in commitments to the PMNCH COVID Call to Action.

Following the traditional Executive Director’s Report on 2020 progress and reflections on 2021 given by Helga Fogstad, a presentation from Anuradha Gupta, Gavi; Interim Chair of the PMNCH Strategy Committee set the tone for the meeting with a call to the PMNCH community to drive advocacy towards equity enhancing and financing strategies. This was followed by an intervention from Monique Vledder, addressing the question of how PMNCH’s platform can be leveraged to work with the Global Financing Facility in its drive to address equity gaps and protect and promote high quality essential health services.

Closely related to this discussion was the presentation of the PMNCH 24-month Call to Action campaign plan by Lars Grønseth of Norad, Co-Chair of the PMNCH Advocacy Working Group. In July 2020, PMNCH issued a 7-point Call to Action in response to the devastating effects of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents. The response to the call to action has been astounding with the aforementioned funding of $20 billion pledged to help women, children and adolescents at the second Lives in the Balance e-summit organized by PMNCH on 11 December 2020. During the Board meeting the 24-month Call to Action campaign plan was approved with implementation planning to set to follow suite.

PMNCH has recently undertaken a review of its governance led by the Governance and Nominations Committee overseen by Chair Flavia Bustreo, Botnar Foundation and Vice-Chair Dorothy Shaw. Findings and recommendations of this review were made to the Board with a view to creating a transition to a new slimed down structure that will be agile and fit for purpose.

Finally, the emerging PMNCH Digital Platform showcasing a new approach to partner engagement was unveiled alongside a new brand identity —the first overhaul since the Partnership was founded 15 years ago. The new look and plans for a digital approach to working which includes an interactive web platform, was unanimously supported by the Board and is set to be rolled out at the beginning of 2021.