Independent Panel Underscores Private Sector Accountability in Health
Photo courtesy of SDG Fund
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The Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman, Every Child, Every Adolescent is highlighting the ways that private sector activities affect health outcomes for these population groups.

The panel launched a report on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, containing recommendations for industries involved in health service delivery, pharmaceuticals and food.

The panel notes, for example, that the marketing of packaged food items has had an influence on health and nutrition, obesity and NCDs.

27 September 2018: The Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman, Every Child, Every Adolescent (IAP) is highlighting the ways that private sector activities affect health outcomes for these population groups. The panel launched a report on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly (UNGA), containing recommendations for industries involved in health service delivery, pharmaceuticals and food.

The report, titled, ‘Private Sector: Who Is Accountable?’, argues that governments are the guardians of private sector accountability. It calls on governments, parliaments and international partnerships (such as the UN Global Compact) to establish accountability systems that are adequately resourced, and to oversee compliance with standards. The Panel warns that without such measures the poor will continue to fall victim to “quack services and treatments,” while being unable to afford essential services and medicines. Among its messages to industries, the panel notes that the marketing of packaged food items has had an influence on health and nutrition, obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). It also argues that the growing privatization of health services means that the private sector plays a role in achieving universal health coverage (UHC).

The report includes recommendations in five key areas: access to services and the right to health; equitable access to medicines; the food industry, obesity and NCDs; actions to be undertaken by the UN Global Compact and ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ partners; and donor and business engagement in the SDGs. It calls on the UHC2030 partnership to address private sector transparency and accountability, and on the UN Global Compact and ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ partners to strengthen monitoring. The report also calls for placing private sector accountability on the global agenda for achieving UHC and the SDGs, including at the 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Development cooperation partners are urged to invest in national regulatory and oversight capacities, and also to regulate private sector actors headquartered in their countries.

The IAP was established to provide an independent review of implementation of the 2016-30 Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, which aims to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. It was appointed by the UN Secretary-General in early 2016. The IAP secretariat is hosted by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), a multi-stakeholder partnership that is hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

IAP and PMNCH organized the report launch in New York, US, on 27 September 2018, co-hosted by the Governments of Finland and South Africa. [Publication: Private Sector: Who Is Accountable?] [IAP Website] [PMNCH Webpage]


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