News / Africa

Conference to Foster Mother, Child Health

Participants at the fiver-ever AU sponsored International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Johannesburg. Credit: AU
Participants at the fiver-ever AU sponsored International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Johannesburg. Credit: AU

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on maternal and child health

Joe DeCapua
The 1st International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa got underway Thursday in Johannesburg. Organizers say while much has been done to reduce mortality rates, those rates still remain very high.


The African Union says maternal mortality has fallen by more than 40 percent since 1990, while child mortality is down by 33 percent. Nevertheless, it says 57-percent of global maternal deaths occur in Africa, as do half of the global deaths of children under age five. What’s more, the AU says Africa accounts for most of the child deaths from malaria and HIV/AIDS, as well as many from pneumonia and diarrhea.

The AU says the causes of these deaths are preventable, making the theme of the three day conference A Call to Action.

The U.N. Population Fund has announced a new initiative to increase reproductive health services for 45-million adolescent girls. Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin spoke about the initiative from Johannesburg.

“Seventy percent of Africa is less than 30 years old. So, we need to ensure that every life and every young person has access to all that their health and education requires to enable them to reach their full potential.”

It’s estimated that by 2030, almost 25-percent of adolescent girls will live in Africa. The population fund says every year more than seven million girls under age 18 give birth.

“We find that in each of the African countries we work in -- 46 of them – adolescent pregnancy is very high and adolescent mortality from unsafe abortion is also very high,” he said.

Dr. Osotimehin said that family planning is a big part of the U.N. Population Fund’s strategy.

“In the context of trying to save the lives of mothers, who die giving birth, family planning is a very important intervention. Family planning saves 30 percent of mothers’ lives. When they have family planning they make choices. They have fewer children.”

Africa’s future, he said, will depend very much on educating the younger generations.

“Education is the best intervention you can give in any country, especially girls’ education. Now we know that with girls’ education maternal mortality goes down. Child mortality goes down. Education beyond 18 actually contributes to economic development,” he said.

He said that educated and healthy girls are more likely to delay having children; have healthier children when they do; and earn higher incomes. He added that the “impact of empowering today’s girls will be felt for generations to come.”

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid