Announcement of Every Woman Every Child’s Independent Accountability Panel

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Last September, the UN Secretary-General launched the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health to help further the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda. This strategy builds on 15 years of progress under the Millennium Development Goals and the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) movement. A key strategic priority for EWEC is the development of an updated accountability framework to ensure strong implementation of the SDGs.

To this end, today the UN Secretary-General appointed nine members to Every Woman Every Child’s Independent Accountability Panel (IAP). The Panel will produce its first, albeit preliminary, report before the end of 2016, ideally by the UN General Assembly in September. This report will provide an independent assessment of progress and challenges to help strengthen the response from the international health community and countries. In subsequent years, the annual report is expected to coincide with the relevant Sustainable Development Goals follow-up and review processes, such as the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The IAP is comprised of the following nine distinguished panelists from diverse regions and backgrounds that range from human rights experts to humanitarian leaders to statisticians. These panelists are empowered to command attention from the global community across the full range of the updated Global Strategy’s accountability framework – to monitor, review and act – and across the diverse spectrum of the Global Strategy’s issues that comprise the “Survive, Thrive, and Transform” themes.

Sania Nishtar [Chair] Pakistan
Carmen Barroso Brazil
Pali Lehohla South Africa
Elizabeth Mason UK
Vinod K. Paul India
Giorgi Pkhakadze Ukraine
Jaime Sepulveda Mexico
Dakshitha Wickremarathne Sri Lanka
Alicia Ely Yamin USA

The IAP will carry forward the work of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health (COIA). The COIA produced 10 recommendations including the appointment of a nine member independent Expert Review Group (iERG), hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO). The iERG’s 2014 report and the Global Strategy call for the establishment of the IAP to carry forward the work of the iERG into the SDG era.

The Board of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), chaired by Mrs. Graça Machel, led a selection process that yielded a shortlist of candidates for consideration by the UN Secretary-General. The confidentiality of applicants and nominees was maintained throughout this process. The IAP’s secretariat will be independent, housed at PMNCH.

The IAP will undertake their roles on a pro bono basis.

Biographies of IAP Panelists

Sania Nishtar (Chair)

Dr. Sania Nishtar is the founder and president of Heartfile, which began in Pakistan in 1999 as a nongovernmental organization focused on health information and evolved into a think tank on health policy issues. She is currently the co­chair of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity. She is founder of Heartfile Health Financing, a programme that uses a customized IT platform and mobile phones to protect poor patients from medical impoverishment or foregoing health care.

A cardiologist by training, she was Best Graduate of the Khyber Medical College in 1986 and holds a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of London and a PhD from King's College London. Widely considered a thought leader on health policy, she has been a key drafter of several global health declarations.

Carmen Barroso

Carmen Barroso is the Regional Director of International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR). Among her responsibilities is the leadership of a comprehensive accreditation system to ensure accountability among member associations.

She taught reproductive health and rights as Hubert Humphrey Distinguished Professor at Macalester College and research methods at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She was also a senior researcher with the Chagas Foundation, where she pioneered innovative evaluation methods and later created Brazil’s first and foremost women's studies center.

Dr. Barroso became the first non-American to be appointed as director in the US MacArthur Foundation. She serves on several boards and international commissions, including the independent Expert Review Group, International AIDS Alliance, IBIS, and PAHO’s Panel on Gender and Health that she co-chairs. Carmen Barroso holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Pali Lehohla

Mr. Pali Lehohla was appointed to his current position in South Africa of Statistician General, in November 2000. Previously Mr. Lehohla was a chief director for Demography, Censuses and Household Surveys at Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) where he was responsible for South Africa’s first post apartheid population census conducted in 1996. In 1998, Mr. Lehohla was deployed by the United Nations to Cambodia to assess the country’s readiness to undertake its first census after almost 30 years.

He holds a B.A. with a double major in Economics and Statistics, and a postgraduate diploma in population studies. He has also completed a senior leadership programme with the business schools of the University of Witwatersrand and Harvard.

Elizabeth Mason

Elizabeth Mason was Director of the department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at WHO HQ in Geneva, from 2004 until her retirement at the end of May 2014.

Dr. Mason is a specialist in Public Health ­ Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and has more than 30 years’ experience in Clinical care; Policy and Strategy development; Planning, management, implementation and monitoring of maternal, newborn and child health programmes at all levels of the health service. She spent 24 years living and working in the African region. Working in Zimbabwe, at all levels of the health system, before joining WHO, where she worked at country, intercountry and Regional levels.

Vinod K. Paul

Vinod Paul is the Professor and Head of the Department of Pediatrics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. He is also the director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Newborn Health for South East Asia Region. He is a well-known academic, researcher and a public health activist.

Dr. Paul was Secretary of the National Neonatology Forum (NNF) of India in 1990­92. He was instrumental in launching the neonatal resuscitation program in India, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka, and in developing the maternal and child health strategy of the India’s Reproductive and Child Health program. In 2001, Dr. Paul worked at the World Health Organization, Geneva, in the department of Child and Adolescent Health. He was the Senior Policy Advisor, Saving Newborn Lives (Save the Children) in 2002­04. Dr. Paul was a member of the United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Child Health and Maternal Health (2005­05).

Giorgi Pkhakadze

Dr. Giorgi Pkhakadze has been working in public health in a number of regions (South Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe). He has provided expertise for the set-up and implementation of public health programmes and policies for several UN agencies, for the Global Fund (GFATM), the European Union, private international consultancy companies, several national and international nongovernmental organizations, and private and government run hospitals.

Dr Pkhakadze previously served as a member of an Independent Review Committee, Gavi and a member of the Technical Review Panel for GFATM. He is also an Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Public Health and published several books and articles internationally in the field of Public Health and Anthropology.

Jaime Sepulveda

Jaime Sepulveda is the Executive Director of UCSF Global Health Sciences, and Professor of Epidemiology, at the University of California, San Francisco. A member of the Chancellor's Executive Cabinet, he leads a team of over 260 faculty and staff engaged in translating UCSF's scientific leadership into programs that positively impact health and reduce inequities globally.

From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Sepulveda was a member of the Foundation Leadership Team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Sepulveda worked closely with key foundation partners—including the GAVI Alliance, where he chaired the Executive Committee—to increase access to vaccines and other effective health solutions in developing countries.

Sepulveda worked for more than 20 years in a variety of senior health posts in the Mexican government. After graduating from Harvard University where he obtained his Doctorate, he became Mexico's Director­General of Epidemiology.

Dakshitha Wickremarathne

Dakshitha Wickremarathne is a young researcher, activist and a development practitioner focusing on sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), gender equality, youth rights and reconciliation. He is an Asia Pacific trainer on SRHR and has extensive experience in working with most at risk and vulnerable populations. Wickremarathne serves as a Commissioner in the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Well Being and as an Advisor to UN Women’s Global Civil Society Advisory Group. He is the Co-Founder of Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka, working to establish youth led accountability mechanisms.

Wickremarathne was recently appointed as the Official Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to Commonwealth by the Government of Sri Lanka and was selected as one of Women Deliver’s Young Leaders in 2015. Wickremarathne has a Bachelors in Social Work and Post Graduate Diploma in Diplomacy and Global Affairs. He is currently earning his Masters in Development Studies.

Alicia Ely Yamin

Alicia Ely Yamin is a lecturer on global health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, director of the school’s JD/MPH program, policy director of the Harvard FXB Center, and a senior associated researcher at the Centre on Law and Social Transformation at the University of Bergen, Norway. Trained in both law and public health at Harvard, for over 20 years Yamin’s career at the intersection of health and human rights has bridged academia and activism.

From 2007 to 2011 Yamin held the prestigious Joseph H. Flom Fellowship on Global Health and Human Rights at Harvard Law School. Prior to that she served as director of research and investigations at Physicians for Human Rights, where she oversaw all of the organization’s field investigations, and was on the faculty of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

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