Improving Information to Secure Women's and Children's Health related MDGs


African parliamentarians have renewed pledges to make governments accountable to pledges made to improve women’s and children’s health and identify quality health information as the basis of their contributions to advocacy, policymaking and oversight including budget scrutiny and approval.

The General Purpose Committee of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) met in Arusha with representatives of National Parliaments from East Africa and regional MNCH experts for a seminar to identify parliamentary actions to promote MNCH in the East Africa region. Countries represented included Burundi, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, including Zanzibar.

East African Partner States pointed to some achievements in addressing MNCH, but acknowledged high death rates, with low access to life saving antiretroviral drugs and family planning services. They called MNCH “the future of humanity” and acknowledged that more needs to be done in the area.

The issue of available data was raised and the need for an improvement in civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS). “We note concerns that... quality data is not readily available in the region...What is required is national commitment to improve civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) in EAC.


The Committee set several objectives for the East Africa Legislative Assembly, and its national parliaments, including:

  • To urge members of parliaments in Member States to hold governments to account f the provision of maternal, new born and child health, including delivering on commitments made to national, regional and global initiatives including the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, the Abuja commitment on allocating least 15% of national budgets to improve the health sector, national roadmaps reduce maternal mortality and the recent IPU resolution on the role of parliamentarians in ensuring maternal new-born and child health as a right;
  • To underscore the role of leaders at all levels of society in promoting MNCH and commit to encouraging them to work towards the realisation MNCH;
  • To making quality health information the basis of our contributions to advocacy policymaking and oversight including budget scrutiny and approval;
  • To ensure enabling and enforced legal frameworks for the development, maintenance appropriate and comprehensive use of health information.

The Committee also identified several action points to implement the Objectives. The complete Concluding Statement from the seminar is available on the right.