African MPs to implement programmes on maternal and child health

The Legislative arm of the African Union and Pan African Parliament (PAP), have adopted a broad resolution urging Speakers of Parliament on the Continent to prioritize the implementation of maternal, newborn and child health programmes.

A statement received in Accra on Wednesday from Johannesburg said the latest development marked a significant milestone in accelerating progress in Africa towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 on child and maternal health.

It said in the resolution passed during the Fifth Session of the Second Pan African Parliament held on October 3-14, in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, PAP members reiterated that maternal, newborn and child health were critical to overall human and social development in Africa.

In addition, the resolution called for high-level Parliamentary support to accelerate the implementation of a plan on policy and budget support towards maternal, newborn and child health, agreed by Chairs of Finance and Budget Committees of National Parliaments in October 2010.

In July 2010, the African Union Head of States and Governments made far-reaching commitments towards maternal and infant health at a high-level summit held in Kampala, Uganda.

The statement said the latest PAP resolution combined integrated implementation of African maternal, newborn and child frameworks with the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health, launched in 2010 to accelerate progress toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

According to the United Nations, 7.6 million children under the age of five and approximately 350,000 women die each year of pregnancy-related causes, most of which are preventable.

Underlining the need for accelerated global action, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “We must, therefore, do more for the newborn who succumbs to infection for want of a simple injection, and for the young boy who will never reach his full potential because of malnutrition.”

The statement noted that health experts and campaigners said Parliaments had a significant role to play in reinvigorating policy and budgetary support towards maternal and infant health in Africa.

Rotimi Sankore, Secretary of Africa Public Health Parliamentary Network, commenting on the resolution said: “We welcome this landmark resolution by the Pan African Parliament, which is a significant step towards African Parliamentary action to help end the tragic annual loss of an estimated 4.2 million lives of African women and children. The resolution strongly complements the African Union Commission-led Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), launched in 31 countries over the last two years.”

The statement said with this resolution, five senior members from each of the 54 African Union Member States had pledged to work alongside Speakers and relevant committees of National Parliaments, to implement the PAP resolution on maternal, newborn and child health.

Source: GNA

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