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

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid