Monday June 30 2014

Global leaders call for accelerated action on maternal and child health

Global leaders call for swift action against maternal death

Delegates at the conference. Photo By Agatha Ayebazibwe 

By Agatha Ayebazibwe

Leaders across the globe meeting in Johannesburg for the Third Partners Forum have urged governments to accelerate efforts to address maternal and child deaths, saying they preventable.

The Partners forum brings together over 650 divergent organisations from different continents across the world, meeting to forge a way of addressing maternal and child health to meet the MDG 4 and 5 within the next 500 days and also ensure that issues affecting women and children take a centre stage in the Post 2015 Development agenda.

Speaking in a video conference at the opening of the two day conference, Ms Hillary Clinton, the Former United States Secretary said that remarkable progress has been made over the years in addressing maternal and Child health but urged governments to step up their efforts, saying it was unacceptable for mothers and their new born babies to continue dying without leaders being accountable for such deaths.

“There’s more to be done. We cannot accept the 800 deaths of women and three million deaths of new borns that occur every day. It is time to take action and be accountable as leaders,” said Ms Clinton.

Opening the two day function at the Convention Center in Johanneburg on Monday, Ms Graca Machel, Chair of PMNCH and African Ambassador for Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed said that while the world has made remarkable progress to improve health and expand opportunities over the past 14 years, there is still much more to be done.

"Women and children have not been covered adequately. We must ensure that all women, adolescent girls, children and new-borns, no matter where they live, are able to fulfil their rights to health and education, and realize their full potential,” said Machel.

Despite the remarkable progress made since 1990, over 289,000 women still die every year from complications at birth and 6.6 million children do not live to see their fifth birthday, including nearly 3 million new-borns.