This is an average of the three domain scores below.
The U.S. Government received a 70 (C-) with transparency and a 74 (C) without transparency for Maternal and Child Health across all actors due to the lower budget requests by the White House and Congress. This domain grade was further lowered due to the omittance of specific references to MCH programming in the PLGHA FAQ and Six Month Review documents, which indicates that the U.S. government is not considering the unique impact of the implementation of PLGHA on maternal and child health programs. Low transparency on policy and funding data related to maternal and child health also contributed to this score.
The White House received a 63 (D) with transparency and a 68 (D+) without transparency for Maternal and Child Health in 2018 because the President’s FY 2019 budget did not allocate funds for UNICEF or for UNIFEM (now UN Women). The White House also did not issue any maternal and child health-related executive actions or sign any maternal and child health-related legislation in 2018. Similar to other domains, the transparency score for the White House under the Maternal and Child Health domain was low due to difficulty accessing funding information and the inability to search White House policies by criteria that had been previously available. The low transparency score in this domain, in combination with the lack of funds requested for UNICEF and UNIFEM in the President’s FY 2019 budget request, led to this low score.
Congress received an 89 (B+) with transparency and a 90 (A-) without transparency for Maternal and Child Health because, although no new legislation was passed in this domain, the FY 2019 Congressional budget included an appropriation of funds for UNICEF and UNIFEM (now UN Women) — despite the absence of funding for both in the President’s budget request. Congress also appropriated more funding for USAID’s maternal and child health programs in FY 2019 than the amount appropriated in FY 2018. The transparency score was lowered due to a lack of clarity regarding UNIFEM funding.
The Department of State received a 35 (F) with transparency and a 40 (F) without transparency for Maternal and Child Health in 2018 based on two documents related to the PLGHA expansion of the Global Gag Rule: the Six Month Review and the FAQs. Neither document was gender aware or based in evidence or human rights principles. However, both documents were responsive to need because they addressed concerns and questions from partners regarding the implementation of PLGHA. The omittance of specific references to maternal and child health programming in both documents indicated that the Department of State was not considering the unique impact of the implementation of PLGHA on maternal and child health programs. This shortsightedness has serious implications for the ability of the Department of State to implement comprehensive maternal and child health programming. With regards to budget allocation, the Department of State budget evaluation depicted that funds were being distributed according to countries with the highest maternal mortality.
USAID received a 70 (C-) with transparency and a 72 (C-) without transparency for Maternal and Child Health based on three documents issued in 2018 that were related to maternal and child health. Though the impact of this guidance on SRHR ranged from positive to negative, all of the guidance focused on child survival more than maternal wellbeing and lacked a gender transformative approach to programming. Maternal health programs should address issues beyond maternal survival — such as the impact of gender norms on pregnancy and the importance of respectful maternity care to address disrespect and abuse. These factors are vital in determining the health of the mother and, subsequently, the health of the child. USAID, as the agency that coordinates maternal and child health in-country through local civil society partnerships, has the potential to support gender transformative and person-centered policies and programming that reflect the realities of the infrastructure and gender norms. These documents were evidence that USAID did not fully step into this role in 2018. Furthermore, the PLGHA FAQs did not adequately address the unique impacts the PLGHA policy could have on maternal and child health programming. The USAID budget grade reflected the conclusion that maternal and child health programs were not responsive to need, as a significant portion of the funds disbursed for maternal and child health programming in FY 2019 were not disbursed in countries with the highest maternal mortality.
HHS received a 66 (D) with transparency and a 75 (C) without transparency for Maternal and Child Health. HHS was graded on the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) FAQ that included the “HHS Specific Information” section on page 17. The disbursed funds for maternal and child health programs through HHS were not publicly available, which contributed to this actor’s low transparency grade in this domain.
The DoD does not receive a grade within the Maternal and Child Health domain because it does not work in international maternal and child health.