Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Global ‘Countdown’ to achieving MNCH begins this week in South Africa

A new report on Tracking progress in maternal, newborn and child survival: Countdown to 2015 will be launched this Thursday, April 17, at the International ‘Countdown to 2015’ Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

The conference, which takes place on April 17-19, offers a range of opportunities for the global community to bring issues of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) to the foreground of international debate and policy-making, and to release groundbreaking information on the current state of the world’s progress towards reaching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5. The event is predicted to be an important milestone following a wave of recent international advocacy efforts to mobilize global commitment and actions in MNCH.

Organized around a series of plenary sessions that focus on intervention coverage, equity, health systems, human resources and aid harmonization, the conference will place special emphasis on parallel sessions to present country case studies and success stories. The main objectives will include disseminating the most recent information on country-level progress in achieving health coverage with interventions for reducing mortality among mothers and children, promoting media visibility for the Countdown to 2015 Report, raising awareness of key decision-markers on MNCH issues, and providing a forum for the development of partnerships dedicated to maternal, newborn and child survival efforts.

With these objectives in mind, this year’s conference intends on making headway toward increasing coverage of key MNCH interventions in countries comprising 97 per cent of the global burden of maternal and childhood deaths. In Nigeria alone about 6 women die every hour from pregnancy-related complications, while infants and children are dying by the thousands every day. The conference is a way to address these tragic figures across the nation and to come up with evidence-based approaches to eliminating such needless deaths among women and children around the world.

‘Countdown to 2015’ takes place in conjunction with the 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Cape Town, giving conference organizers and delegates a chance to sensitize over 1,000 Parliamentarians to MNCH issues.

Please visit Development Communication Network’s Media Deliver Now! blog to view the upcoming ‘Tracking progress in maternal, newborn and child survival’ report and to read further updates from South Africa.

By Amanda Hale

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