The Struggle Continues for Maternal Health in Africa
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”, this Federation of African Medical Students Associations (FAMSA) 27th Annual General Assembly and International Scientific conference report comes at a critical time. The whole world is assessing progress towards the Millennium Declaration in the last seven years before the 2015 deadline.
As the report shows there is a cause for concern. For several MDGs, basically 4 and 5 the progress has been too slow to meet the national and international targets in many African Nations. The right to life as well as the rights to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health are internationally recognized fundamental Human Rights, failure to uphold these rights is an abrogation of our duties, obligations and responsibilities as individuals, the Federation, governments and other concerned health organizations collectively.
In developing countries, Maternal and Child mortality rates remain unacceptably high and many countries are NOT on track to archive Millennium development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5. MDG 4 aims to reduce the under-five child mortality rate by two thirds and MDG 5 aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015. However, the 27th FAMSA Conference that targeted MDG 4 and 5 in this report clearly spells out a series of practical solutions that, if implemented, could significantly spur progress when we put our efforts together and work with a joint action plan.
Major contributing factors to maternal and child deaths include: weak health systems, inadequate financial resources to the health sector, inadequate Human resources for health, inadequate nutrition particularly during the first 1000 days between pregnancy and child’s second birthday. These deaths are unacceptable because they are almost all preventable and result from conditions that can be treated by well known and cost-effective interventions of which the world has the necessary resources to stop the carnage.
I wish to recognize the dedicated efforts of all who contributed towards making the 27th FAMSA conference not just a reality but a success, those involved in preparing this report on the side of the Government of Uganda, the Family of the President of Uganda, World Vision, UNICEF, WHO, AMREF, Italian Cooperation, the Ministry of Health, IPAS Africa Alliance, University Hospital of South Manchester and Gulu University, faculty of Medicine the Institution bared to all circumstances to Host this Conference.
It is my hope that the report will galvanise action and help ensure that the benefits of the development process in Africa are shared more equally and the concerned action is taken to accelerate progress towards the MDGs as we move towards 2015 and beyond.
To the mothers of Africa, I dedicate this Report to you all in recognition of the personal sacrifice and risk you undergo in carrying and giving birth to the people who make this continent we are all proud of.
I look forward to see you all for the 28th FAMSA Annual General Assembly and International Scientific conference at the University of Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa due 14th-21st June 2013.
John Paul Bagala
- Newborns Account For 40% Of Child Deaths, But Only 6% Of World’s Foreign Assistance For Maternal And Child Health Mentions Them (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Au Commissioner Reports on Progress in Implementation of Carmma at the Globalpower Women’s Meeting (appablog.wordpress.com)
- Mrs. Mills says Ghana will meet MDGs 4 and 5 (ghanabusinessnews.com)
- Factors contributing to Africa’s failure in achieving MDG5 by Japheth Mati (africahealth.wordpress.com)
- African child mortality: The best story in development (economist.com)
- BRAC Announces $700 Million Commitment to Help End Maternal and Child Mortality (prweb.com)