African Heads of State and Government convene to accelerate “Reinforcing the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction in Maternal Mortality in Africa”
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The AU Chairman H.E. Mr. Boni Yayi, President of the Republic of Benin, the African Union Commission and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, hosted a High-Level Event with more than 30 Heads of State and Government under the theme “Reinforcing the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction in Maternal Mortality in Africa”.
The event discussed progress made by African countries in reducing maternal death and proposed strategies to accelerate concrete actions to achieve MGDs 4 and 5, including increased and better use of domestic resources for maternal health, empowerment of ministries of health to intensify good maternal health interventions and community action.
Heads of State and Government present at the event reconfirmed their commitment to improve maternal health in their countries. The President of Gabon HE. Ali Bongo Ondimba announced a financial commitment of $500,000 to support UNFPA’s maternal health programmes.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Dr. Dlamini Zuma noted that the AU, UNFPA and other partners need to do more to reduce maternal death in Africa. “It is a national duty and a duty to humanity to ensure that women do not die while giving live,” she added.
Dr. Zuma said “In Africa we celebrate motherhood, with child birth as a natural and normal process, but let us remember that maternal deaths is not random, it is preventable. An investment in the health of women is an investment in economic development”, she added.
The Chairperson stressed the need to promote family planning services as a matter of right and the urgency of stopping child marriage.( Full speech of the AUC Chairperson is available on the AU website: http://www.au.int.)
The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon applauded African leaders that have contributed to the dramatic progress in many countries, and added that there are still too many tragedies across the continent.
“We are here because we are determined to stop these needless maternal deaths,” said Mr. Ban, adding that CARMMA is central to the global Every Woman Every Child movement.
He called for more resources for high-impact interventions, use of innovative technologies and services to reach remote areas, and scaled-up investment in African women and girls.
UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Osotimehin, recalled the progress made by CARMMA since it started in 2009, with a total of 37 countries having launched the campaign and further pledged to improve maternal health.
“Having all of you leaders, political drivers and thinkers in this room together today presents a wonderful opportunity to take stock and celebrate the tremendous achievements and progress made in reducing maternal mortality in Africa in the last years,” Dr. Osotimehin stated.
He however stressed that much more needs to be done: “Still far too many women on our precious continent are dying from pregnancy-related causes, an average of 450 women every day. We all know and agree that without health, no country can flourish and develop, and without the health of mothers and children, none of us would be here today.”
He concluded by calling on all stakeholders to combine and strengthen efforts to save the lives of Africa’s women and girls and reaffirmed that UNFPA was 100 per cent committed to supporting the African Union and all countries to improve women’s health and development. .( Full speech of the UNFPA Executive Director is available on the AU website: http://www.au.int.)
In his welcoming remarks, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, said the achievement of the MDGs and its post-2015 objectives depends on Africa’s ability to address preventable maternal, newborn and child death and morbidity.
.(Full speech of the Commissioner is available on the AU website: http://www.au.int.)
Heads of State and Government at the event included H.E. Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Mrs. Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi, H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon, among others. AU Commissioners, representatives of regional and international organizations, diplomats, civil society and other stakeholders also attended.
African Union Commission (AUC)