Nairobi, October 23, 2014…
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) today reaffirmed its commitment to a partnership with Amref Health Africa aimed at improving the health of women and children in Africa.
Speaking at the exchange of a signed Memorandum of Understanding that makes Amref Health Africa an implementing partner for UNFPA in Africa, Dr Laura Laski, Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health at UNFPA, stressed the importance of providing health services at community level if Africa is to reduce maternal and child mortality. She noted that Amref Health Africa had been working in Africa for more than 50 years, training health workers and improving community access to affordable health services, making the organisation an ideal partner.
“Working with governments, other United Nations agencies and partners like Amref Health Africa around the world, UNFPA has helped to reduce maternal death by nearly half and the deaths of children by more than 40 per cent in the last two decades,” she said.
She noted, however, that there was still a lot of work to be done. Despite concerted efforts by governments in collaboration with institutions like Amref Health Africa and UNFPA, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest maternal mortality ratio – 510 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, or 162,000 maternal deaths a year. This is 56 per cent of all maternal deaths per year worldwide (WHO UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank, Trends in Maternal Mortality 1990 – 2013).
Amref Health Africa Director General Dr Teguest Guerma affirmed the importance of the partnership between UNFPA and Amref Health Africa in reducing maternal and child deaths. “Mothers are the heart of communities. They hold families, communities and entire nations together. We must continue to ensure that they are well taken care of as they go through the important process of bringing new life into the world, and their children survive and thrive for the prosperity of future generations,” said Dr Guerma.
She emphasised that high maternal mortality in Africa is an unfinished agenda of the Millennium Development Goals, and one of the critical issues that will be discussed at the Amref Health Africa International Conference to be held in Nairobi from November 24-26. UNFPA will play a key role in the conference,
“Using research and evidence to inform Africa’s health development priorities and actions is the
theme of the conference, and it is also a key element of this MOU,” noted Dr Guerma. “There is a great deal of knowledge and evidence on how we can successfully tackle health issues on the continent, including the challenges faced in delivering health care to women and children,” she added.
The MOU between UNFPA and Amref Health Africa focuses on pre-service and in-service training of midwives and other health workers, promotion of reproductive and sexual health rights, family planning and adolescent and youth-friendly services. The two institutions will also collaborate to evaluate programmes and carry out research to find appropriate and sustainable solutions to address the challenges faced in delivering women and children’s health in Africa.
The collaboration will further ensure that evidence from the field is brought to policy discussions at country, regional and global level in order to influence governments and development partners to develop and implement responsive policies.
To mark the launch of the new MOU, Amref Health Africa and UNFPA are organising a master training of midwifery trainers to strengthen teaching and mentorship skills, a key gap in midwifery education in sub-Saharan Africa. Over 30 midwifery trainers and clinical instructors from seven Anglophone African countries are currently undergoing this training.
For more information, please contact:
UNFPA Amref Health Africa
Geeta Laa Betty Muruiki
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Betty. Muruiki@amref.org
Tel:+1-212-297-5072 Tel:+254 20 69933271