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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.