African Ministers meet in Addis Ababa


African Ministers acknowledge great challenges, despite progress, in women’s and children’s health

African Ministers of Health meeting at the special session of the fifth African Union Conference of Ministers of Health have endorsed a status report on women’s and children’s health in the region. The “2012 Status Report on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health” points to unacceptably high maternal and child mortality and morbidity, despite some progress in improving the health of women and children: “Despite the progress recorded, Africa is still confronted with formidable challenges as it strives towards the attainment of the MDGs, especially MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015,” says the report.

The progress report follows from the African Leaders’ adoption of the 2010 Declaration on Maternal, Infant and Child Health This report, which includes member state comments, will be sent to July 2012 AU Heads of State Summit for review.

The progress report also notes that Africa accounts for half of the global maternal and child deaths As progress on reducing maternal and child mortality occurs globally, the disparity between Africa and other regions is magnified.

The report lists key issues related to women’s and children’s health on the continent and recommends increased efforts to address malnutrition, poor community participation and weak health systems. The report also recommends creating supportive legislative environments (including around abortion), improving data through institutionalized maternal death audits, increasing the focus on adolescent reproductive health and adequate financing for health among others.