News / Africa

US, Norway Work to Improve Maternal Health in Africa

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Global Health Conference at Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012.US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Global Health Conference at Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012.
x
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Global Health Conference at Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Global Health Conference at Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
OSLO, Norway - The United States and Norway are working to improve maternal and child health in Africa. In the Norwegian capital, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $75 million in U.S. support.

Secretary Clinton says the "Saving Mothers, Giving Life" initiative aims to reduce maternal mortality at a time when the World Health Organization says 800 women die in childbirth each day.

"I often think about issues like maternal health from a personal perspective because I am privileged to have known what it meant to me to have had the great good fortune and gift of my daughter," said Clinton. "And I think about what it would have been like that cold February day in 1980 if I didn't know that the facility was available. Or were it available, I didn't really know for sure if it would be open. And I couldn't count on a doctor or a midwife or a nurse being present."

The initiative is sponsored by the U.S. and Norwegian governments along with the pharmaceutical firm Merck and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Starting in Uganda and Zambia, it is focusing on helping mothers during labor, delivery, and during the first 24 hours after a birth, when two of every three maternal deaths occur and 45 percent of newborn deaths occur.

The public and private partnership is meant to strengthen district health services by building clinics and labs, training staff, improving supply chains, making blood supplies safe, and improving record-keeping systems.

Secretary Clinton says better health systems can not be imposed from outside any more than democracy can be imposed. So each country must shape its own approach based on individual needs and priorities.

But she says there are some universal fundamentals: governments increasing their own spending, donors embracing transparency, and lawmakers bringing down barriers to better health care, including regulatory changes allowing for the faster approval of new drugs.

"It means repealing laws that stop progress, like the unfortunate treatment of women in so many places," said Clinton. "Ending gender-based violence and discrimination. Creating true health equality for women and men. In some countries, women and girls are considered inherently less valuable than men and boys, and they’re treated that way by custom and law."

The "Saving Mothers, Giving Life" program is part of the Obama administration's 2009 Global Health Initiative, which also includes funding to improve nutrition and reproductive health while combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid