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.
    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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora