AU to intensify campaign to reduce maternal mortality in Africa: AU official

08:21, July 26, 2010      

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African Union (AU) Commission is to intensify the campaign to reduce maternal and child mortality rates in the continent, a top official said here on Sunday.

Jean Ping, the chairperson of the AU commission on Sunday told African heads of state and government meeting here that AU has initiated the campaign on reducing of maternal mortality in Africa, which has been launched in more than 13 African countries.

He said the campaign, which is aimed at achieving the fourth and fifth Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, will also be launched in seven additional countries in the continent by the end of the year with the theme, "Africa is not indifferent: No woman should die while giving life."

"Africa's progress in maternal health and reduction of infant mortality is still considerably slow. The maternal and infant mortality is claiming more lives than conflicts," said Jean Ping at the opening of the 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU.

The three-day summit which brought together about 40 heads of state and government under the theme "Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa" is also expected to see African leaders discuss issues including peace and security, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and food security on the continent.

In Africa, Jean Ping said one in every 16 women dies during child delivery and every minute, eight children die, including two newly born babies, from preventable disease.

He said the G8 during the recent meeting in Ontario, Canada pledged through the Maternal, Newborn and Under-Five Child Health, Muskoka Initiative to contribute in speeding up the progress towards reducing maternal and infant mortality.

He said the G8 intends to raise additional resources to the tune of 5 billion U.S. dollars, which will amount to a total of 10 billion dollars over the period 2010 to 2015.

The leaders of the eight richest industrial nations in June 2010 adopted Muskoka, an initiative on promoting maternal and child health.

The Initiative sets the Global Targets as between 2010 and 2015, the G8 will work with multiple partners throughout the global community with the objective of achieving the targets for MDGs 4 and 5.

The goals are reducing by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate; reducing by three-quarters, also between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio; and achieving, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.

"The UN high level meeting on the MDGs slated for September 2010 will be crucial in assessing and reaffirming commitments made to help Africa reach the MDGs by the 2015 deadline," said Jean Ping.

Source: Xinhua


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