The Partnership's statement at Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV)

Statement by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health

Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania and Chairperson of the African Union is speaking at the opening of the TICAD IV, with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, UN Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro in the front row. TICAD IV has attracted more than 40 leaders from Africa.
Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania and Chairperson of the African Union is speaking at the opening of the TICAD IV, with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, UN Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro in the front row. TICAD IV has attracted more than 40 leaders from Africa.
MOFA/Japan

30 May 2008 -The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health warmly welcomes the call for strengthened health systems for African women and children in the Yokohama Declaration and Action Plan issued by the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), held in Yokohama, Japan from 28 to 30 May.

The TICAD IV Yokohama Declaration and Action Plan stress that "stronger health systems to deal with major health challenges including maternal, newborn and child health" in Africa are critical to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The TICAD IV Yokohama Action Plan commits participants to promote a continuum of care for women and children through the periods of pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, child birth and childhood. It pledged support for the WHO target to raise the proportion of births in Africa delivered by skilled birth attendants to 75% in five years, as well as universal access to reproductive health services. Currently, only around half of births in developing countries are delivered with the help of skilled birth attendants.

"For the mothers, newborns and children in developing countries, the TICAD IV outcomes offer a ray of hope", said Dr Francisco Songane, Director of the Partnership. "However, it is vital that the Yokohama Declaration and Action Plan be incorporated into the upcoming G8 Summit agenda, including clear financial commitments for strengthened health systems."

In April 2008, the Partnership issued a Global Call for an additional US$10.2 billion yearly to ensure universal coverage of maternal, newborn and child health interventions to achieve MDGs 4 and 5 on reducing child and maternal mortality.

The Partnership's Global Call specifically urged the G8 Leaders to commit "more predictable financing for strengthened health systems to deliver essential services to women, newborn and children" at their July 2008 Summit in Japan.

The TICAD IV outcome document confirms Japan's commitment "to take advantage of its position as the Chair of the G8 to reflect the results of conference at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit".

"We welcome the TICAD IV commitment to promote better access to reproductive and maternal health services, however strong engagement of civil society will be key to achieve success", said Sumie Ishii, Executive Director of JOICFP, the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning.

"We encourage development partners including the Japanese Government for active engagement of NGOs in the implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan," she added. JOICFP has strongly advocated for the health MDGs during the TICAD IV, in cooperation with International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF).

The Partnership has been advocating for stronger political and financial commitments to MDGs 4 and 5 by facilitating a global advocacy drive "Deliver Now for Women and Children", which has received support from Heads of States, Governments, UN agencies, civil society and community organizations.

For information and interview requests, contact:

In Geneva:
Tunga Namjilsuren
Communications Officer
Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health
Email: namjilsurent@who.int
Telephone: +41 22 791 1073

In Tokyo:
Satoru Yuyama
JOICFP (Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning)
Email: syuyama@joicfp.or.jp
Telephone: +81 32 68 3150

Background

Every year, over 10 million children and women still die from largely preventable causes in developing nations, as a result of poor access to essential health care. According to the 2008 Countdown report, only 16 out of 68 countries which account for 97% of maternal and child deaths globally are on track to achieve MDG 4. 56 out of 68 countries have "high or too high" maternal mortality rates. Though Africa only represents 11% of the world's population, it accounts for half of all maternal and child deaths.