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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid