Thursday, 1 August 2013

News Release: International Conference On Maternal, Newborn And Child Health In Africa


As part of concerted efforts to improve the health of the continent’s citizens and reduce maternal, newborn and child health, the African Union, in partnership with the Government of South Africa, will host a three day meeting. The conference will bring together Ministers of Health along with technical experts from around the continent, who will identify ways to accelerate efforts to reach existing global health commitments and to overcome underlying challenges linked to persistent gender inequalities, social exclusion and weak public health systems.
Who: AUC Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma, African Union
President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, Republic of Liberia
President Joyce Banda, Republic of Malawi
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director
Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Executive Director
Dr. Martin Mogwanja, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director
Ministers of Health from around the continent
When: Wednesday 1st – Saturday 3rd August 2013.
Opening ceremony to be from 9-10:30am on 1stAugust will be open to the media and followed by a press conference.
Where: Birchwood Hotel, Johannesburg
Background Information:
Despite improvements in maternal and child mortality rates in Africa, the continent continues to bear a large part of the global burden of child and maternal mortality.
At 429 deaths per 100,000 live births that year, or an estimated 164,800 maternal deaths, Africa has the world’s highest maternal mortality ratio. Although there has been a 42 per cent reduction of the maternal mortality ratio, from 745 deaths per 100,000 live births to 429, Africa still has the world’s largest burden of maternal deaths, at 56 per cent of the global burden in 2010.
The highest rates of child mortality remain in Africa and half of global under-5 deaths take place in the continent. In 2011, 3.5 million children died before they reach their fifth birthday. Although the under-5 mortality rate declined from 163 in 1990 to 100 per 1,000 live births in 2011, with annual rate of reduction more than doubled over 2000-2011 compared to 1990-2011, the continent accounts for 94% of child deaths caused by malaria; 89% of deaths attributable to HIV/AIDS, 46% of child mortality from pneumonia and 40% of deaths from diarrhoea. These are all preventable causes of death.
The leadership of the African Union has consistently responded to this challenge with the development and adoption of several continental frameworks and policies. These include:
• In 2005 the Continental Policy Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) was adopted followed by the Maputo Plan of Action (MPoA) which were the continent’s roadmap for the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
• In May 2009 the AUC launched, the Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), a continental campaign that seeks to advocate for accelerated response to the issues of maternal, newborn and child health among Member States. To date, 37 Member States have launched the Campaign and developed roadmaps for implementation of appropriate strategies.
• In July 2010, in Kampala during the 15th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, Africa’s leaders deliberated on maternal newborn and child health and committed to key actions to reduce mortality and morbidity.
Despite these efforts and the significant progress made by Member States, the current rate of progress still falls short of what is required for Africa to achieve the MDG 4 and 5 targets.

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