2012 African Women Parliamentarians Conference commit to investing in human resources for health

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The Pan – African Parliament hosted the 2012 Annual African Women Parliamentarians Conference, Johannesburg, from 4-5 October 2012, under the theme “Role of Parliamentarians in Promoting Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa”.

The Conference acknowledged in its report that progress had been made to achieve the MDGs 4 but observed that gaps and challenges still persist. It recognized the importance of educating and deploying more human resources for health in the efforts to improve maternal, child and newborn health and to achieve MDGs 4 and in Africa. Alliance members and board members from Africa made significant contributions to the Conference.

Specifically, in relation to Human resources to Health it resolved as follows:

  • To urgently engage with health, and relevant non-health sectors for a multi-sectoral approach to improving the health of women and children through improved policy, and improved per capita investment in the health sector; and tackling non- health sector challenges such as: improved education for human resources for health;
  • To commit to promote policy cohesion and monitoring for accountability on the implementation of the global, Africa regional and country policies and commitments made to improving maternal and child health, especially specific commitments towards improving training, recruitment and retention of human resources for health the absence of which impacts the most on maternal health.

The report with the recommendations from the conference has been adopted by the full sitting of the Pan African Parliament which was held immediately after the African Women Parliamentarians Conference.

During the conference Mr. Rotimi Sankore, Secretary of the Africa Public Health Parliamentary Network and a member of the Global health Workforce Alliance spoke about The State of Maternal and Child Health, and its Impact on the Economic and Social Development of Africa – A Multi Sectoral Approach to Advance the Continuum of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. During his presentation he emphasized the need for a multi-sectoral approach covering the continuum of Reproductive, Sexual, Maternal, Newborn and Child health which must include health and non-health sectors impacting on health such as the education Sector which is important to engage for training of more health workers critical to reducing maternal and child mortality.

Alliance Board member and member of the UN Independent Expert Review Group (IERG) on Maternal Newborn and Child Health Professor Miriam Were spoke about the recent Regional and Global Developments in Maternal and Child Health and Opportunities for Parliaments.

The Conference noted that the parliamentarians in Africa have a critical role to play in ensuring progress towards achieving the MDGs and that, effective parliamentary engagement can serve as a stimulus for accelerating progress towards achieving MDG targets. In the exercise of their oversight function, Parliaments can pass the necessary enabling legislation aimed at ensuring progress towards MDG targets. As part of the oversight responsibility they can also ensure that governments and other stakeholders are held accountable for MDG related policy implementation.

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