Friday, July 30, 2010



From New Vision and Internet Sources

Compiled by Africa News Online

1. “The African Union SUMMIT in Kampala last week focused on the health of mothers and children, a development that has a chance to transform into hope for the African Child and Safe Motherhood.

“When we invest in mothers, whole societies benefit,

When we care for children,

We raise a new generation of leaders.

This is the doctrine at the United Nations.

“In Sudan, 16-year-old Awatif Altayib

Lost her baby following two days of difficult labour,

She emerged from the ordeal herself injured with obstetric fistula.
Her future with this debilitating condition looked bleak

Until she recovered with assistance from the UN Population Fund

Now Altayib is a working midwife, helping other women to survive.

“Southern Sierra Leone has one gynecologist

Serving an area home to 2.5million people

That is why recently when Hawa Barrie suffered complications in pregnancy; She and her family feared the worst
But the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Is working with the Government and other partners

To improve health services there

Thanks to these efforts, Hawa survived,

Her newborn son received his shots,

Both are on their way to a healthy life

“Abiodun Titi of Niger is another thriving African mother.

Although she is HIV-positive,

She was able to conceive with her HIV-negative husband safely

Thanks to a method involving the female condom

With help from the UN and its partners,

She now teaches others this life-saving approach.
Unfortunately, millions African women

Do not have the same opportunities.

Maternal mortality rates on the continent

Are among the highest in the world

Progress in reaching the Millennium Development Goal

Of drastically reducing these deaths has been abysmally slow.

“Fortunately, African leaders are squarely facing the issue.

The scale and seriousness of the problem demand no less.

It is especially fitting that the AU SUMMIT

Focused on maternal and child health

“Africans place great cultural value on mothers

Not only those who give birth,

But all women,

Since in a meaningful social sense

All are helping to raise children.

“The UN is ready to work with Africa

To make good on its proud traditions

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Recently launched a Joint Action Plan

To accelerate progress on safe motherhood,

Calling for 2010 to be a turning point for women’s health

“Africa’s leaders must also do their part

By pledging the resources we need

To honor past promises and open the way to a better future

We have a blueprint in the Maputo Plan of Action

On Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,

Which has clear objectives and detailed cost estimates

For how to reach them

As Africa leaders commit to doing their part,

So should their development partners.

“The AU SUMMIT should join its voice

To the rising chorus of partners

Supporting the Joint Action Plan

That means expanding national health plans

That put priority on women and children’s health

“It requires increasing the proportion

Of the budget resources for this purpose

Countries must commit to a full continuum of care,

So that women are not just seen when an emergency strikes,

And so that clinics and caregivers address

All of their reproductive health needs,

Whether pregnancy-related or not

And we must reach even the most remote

And poverty-stricken areas

“By taking a strong stance backed by concrete pledges of funds, The SUMMIT can unleash a wave of progress within countries,

Across the region and around the world

“I know the value of a declaration from the continent’s leaders.

During my years as Tanzania’s minister

For Community Development, Gender and Children,

I saw how a signal from the AU SUMMIT could serve as a rallying point

For our work countrywide,

Spur action throughout the region and benefit the continent

And from my view at the UN,

I see how Africa’s bold actions

Can inspire other continents to advance

“There will naturally be many other issues

Requiring the SUMMIT’s attention,

Including conflicts, poverty and other blights

That are causing so many girls and women to suffer

But by putting their health at the top of the agenda,

The SUMMIT will do more than benefit individual females —

It will set the stage for resolving these broader problems

And creating a better world for all”
Asha Rose Migiro,

United Nations deputy Secretary-General

2. “The G8 leaders have committed $10m annually

To fund maternal and child health in Africa

And other developing nations
The funds will be used to improve

The welfare of infants and mothers

And also prevent their deaths.

The theme for the AU SUMMIT was

“Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa”

President Mutharika suggested that African leaders invest in food security

To reverse the high maternal and infant mortality in the continent
According to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities,

About 240,000 mothers die annually in Africa while giving birth.
President Yoweri Museveni called on Africa to address social-economic transformation to attain maternal and child health.

Museveni said Uganda had over 1,600 health centers,

Noting that the units had reduced maternal mortality

From about 600 deaths per 100,000 live births in the 1990s

To about 435 deaths per 100,000 live births currently.

He added that infant mortality had reduced

From 130 deaths per 100,000 live births in the 1990s

To about 76 deaths per 100,000 live births currently.

“Investing in women pays.

It is one of the best investments we can make

For this and future generations,” said Migiro.

Migiro noted that progress on maternal and child health

In Africa had been lagging behind.

She urged the AU to build on the Maputo Plan

For Sexual and Reproductive Health,

The CARMMA Campaign

For Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa

And the Abuja Call for Accelerated Action

Towards Universal Access to HIV/AIDS,

TB and Malaria services

3. “Leaders meeting for the 4th African Union Summit in Kampala should address the long-term health situation in their countries, in addition to increasing health budgets to 15%.

“Although some states have made progress in addressing maternal and child health by increasing their budgets, they are still far below the 40% allocation recommended by the World Health Organization.

“Allocating 15% to health is not adequate. It also requires investment in other social determinants such as a skilled workforce, access to water and a better environment,”

The reports also show that absence of skilled workers at birth is the leading cause of maternal death.
African leaders criticized for being complacent about meeting the 15% health budget target due to lack of political will.

African governments should adopt innovative health financing systems to increase access to health services. Community insurance schemes, levies on products, charity events and outreaches are some of the creative ways of raising funds to support healthcare.

Over 95% of all illnesses are lifestyle-related and people should observe better personal health. We should recognize that when people die, it is not God who has called them or that their time has come. We should blame our weaknesses and our health system.

The public should be proactive and demand quality health services from their leaders. “The key role of any government is to ensure that its people are healthy and governments should have retention schemes to ensure that health workers are motivated to work in rural areas.