The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is among the top 5 most dangerous places to be born in the world: one in every fourteen children will die before reaching the age of one.
Glorie Sibamona is hoping that her newborn baby girl will beat those odds. And thanks to the innovative financing model of the Global Financing Facility (GFF), her chances are improving.
The GFF was set up in 2015 to increase funding to improve maternal and child health and end deaths caused by preventable diseases. It works by partnering with governments to identify and invest in high-impact but historically underfunded areas like newborn survival, adolescent health, nutrition, and in the systems needed to deliver large-scale health care.
In the DRC, the government spent just US$3 per person on health in 2015 – only two other countries in sub-Saharan Africa spent less per person: the Central African Republic and Mozambique. The DRC lacks quality health services at affordable prices, leading to poor health and avoidable tragedies, such as infant deaths.
That’s where the GFF has stepped in, working with the national government to do three main things:
1. Increase government financing to fight maternal, newborn, and child deaths.
2. Ensure governments and donors are advancing key priorities together.
3. Fund health facilities that are having a positive impact on women and children’s health.
So what does this mean for moms like Glorie?
Since the GFF partnered with the government of the DRC in 2015, Glorie, now a mother of 3, has seen dramatic changes in the availability and affordability of services at her local health center. “We are very happy because we didn’t have some services before – but now we have lots of services and we’re more comfortable,” Glorie said.
In the DRC, the GFF brought together all stakeholders to create a case for investment and establish the country’s priorities. The fourteen provinces with the worst health and socioeconomic indicators, including Glorie’s Kenge province, have received support from the GFF, which is proving to be successful in saving children’s and mothers lives.
Glorie’s own Kasombo Health Center now has the funds and capacity to prioritize reproductive, maternal, and child health services. Nurses hold prenatal clinics to educate women on healthy practices during pregnancy, when to come to the health facility to deliver, and how to plan their families.
On November 6th, leaders will gather in Norway to discuss raising an additional US$2 billion for the partnership for 2018-2023 (known as a Replenishment Conference). We must urge leaders to support the replenishment so that women and children, like Glorie and her newborn daughter, can gain access to quality health services.
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