27 January 2020
Stronger accountability is needed to ensure no woman, child or adolescent is left behind
In an editorial published today in the BMJ, IAP members Nicholas Alipui and Elizabeth Mason assert that accountability must be strengthened at all levels to advance women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and achieve the ‘Survive, Thrive, Transform’ objectives of the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Global Strategy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The editorial cites evidence that shows the power of accountability in bringing about desired health outcomes, as well as identifying and addressing health inequities. While governments are primarily responsible for efforts to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in a way to respects, protects and fulfils human rights, IAP panellists argue that accountability must also be ingrained in the culture of businesses, organizations and all other stakeholders.
Effective accountability is based on a foundation of human rights principles, as well as robust, disaggregated data to identify and redress inequities. To advance equity for health and wellbeing across the SDGs, the IAP recommends that governments practically integrate accountability mechanisms with the implementation of the high-level political commitments to ensuring UHC through primary health care (PHC), and with human rights monitoring and remedies, such as the Universal Periodic Review. It also requests the H6 agencies and Countdown to 2030 support countries in monitoring and addressing equity for people’s health and well-being across the SDGs.
Bold government leadership supported by meaningful, inclusive socio-political participation is also necessary to carry out accountability. Custodians of accountability include parliaments, civil society, media, communities and all people as rights holders.
Stronger accountability will break down barriers to equity and health, promote sustainable development and uplift every woman, child and adolescent towards the world we want in 2030.