News / Africa

New Plan Aims to Cut Maternal, Child Deaths By 80 Percent

FILE - Women holding children wait for a medical examination at the health center in Gbangbegouine, Ivory Coast
FILE - Women holding children wait for a medical examination at the health center in Gbangbegouine, Ivory Coast
Mackenzie Buckwalter

UNICEF, the United States and the governments of India and Ethiopia have issued a call to action - a new initiative to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of mothers and their children who die each year from preventable causes.

Called “A Promise Renewed,” the strategy was unveiled Wednesday at a conference in Washington.
 
“[We are] intensifying our efforts, building on our progress to date in strengthening the supply of services and commodities, and, less well-recognized, enhancing demand - increasing the capacity of poor and disadvantaged people to access these services,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in outlining the initiative's goals.
 
Each year, more than 6 million children under the age of five die of preventable causes - about 98 per every 1,000 births globally, according to USAID, the U.S. government’s aid agency. That’s down nearly 50 percent from 1990, but under the new initiative, the goal will be fewer than 20 deaths out of 1,000 births by 2035.
 
At Wednesday’s conference, Ethiopia’s minister of health, Kesetebirhan Admasu, said African nations have reduced the under-five mortality rate by 53 percent. That, he said, is still not enough.
 
“It is important to remind ourselves that one in every 13 children continues to die before the age of their fifth birthday in Africa,” Admasu said. “This is an urgent reminder for us to intensify our efforts.”
 
USAID says its action plan could save the lives of 15 million children and as many as 600,000 women by 2020. 
 
The agency will focus its efforts on 24 nations with high death rates for mothers and their children. These include India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which together account for about half of all early childhood deaths.
 
USAID will spend $2.9 billion in this effort. Rajiv Shah, USAID’s director, told VOA the call to action will build on successful tactics for helping women and children, including improving access to health care and nutrition information.
 
"We are helping to train health community workers so that they know how to help women and children gain access to medicines when they need them,” Shah said.  “We are helping to distribute misoprostol, which helps to prevent post-partum or post-birth bleeding amongst women - that is still the No. 1 cause of maternal death in South Sudan."
 
Shah said finding new ways to work with local governments and businesses can cost effectively improve the lives of women and their children even as many countries face financial constraints.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: RA QUARTEY from: ACCRA
June 26, 2014 4:19 AM
Until African countries and their leaders invest in the people and stop stealing money from the coffers of their respective countries, things of this nature will never see the light of the day. We must know that education, behavioural/attitudinal change, sanitation and more are key to the health of every nation and therefore must be well considered

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid