News Article: Global MPs vow to prioritise maternal, child healthcare
By Gashegu Muramira
New Times (Rwanda)
Delegates at the 126th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Kampala, Uganda have asked parliamentary institutions in the world to prioritise matters of maternal and child health.
In the resolution passed, yesterday, parliamentarians were urged to ensure a coordinated approach to all matters pertaining to maternal and child health, such as sanitation, access to safe drinking water, the fight against malnutrition, and gender quality.
Intisar Dkadek, a senator from Jordan said: “We have taken maternal and child health into serious consideration, and we are going to try to fill the gap between parliamentarians and the people by intensifying our work through workshops with the women and the civil society.”
IPU officials said that the resolution is in response to the alarming situation that they notice at international level that highlights maternal and child health as the worst performing Millennium Development Goal (MDG).
Others argued that the limited access of women to financial resources was one of the major impediments to women’s health and subsequently that of the children they mother.
“We need to take this as a priority because women’s access to loans from financial institutions is really limited and this affects their power and choices,” Osei Kyei-Mensah, a Parliamentarian from Ghana told The New Times.
“The percentage of women in the world who own land is really small and there are more illiterate women in the world than men,” he added.
Martin Chungong, the head of the IPU division for promotion of democracy, said that after the legislators’ resolution, the IPU was mandated to establish a framework for monitoring parliamentary action in the implementation of the resolution.
“The weaknesses have been in terms of legislation because in many countries we don’t have appropriate legislation to deal with mother and child health and we have had a problem with funding,” he said.
“Parliaments are not assertive to ensure that resources are allocated to the health sector, in particular to the mother and child health,” he added.
He said a mechanism would be put in place to enable the IPU track progress registered by different Parliaments.
Delegates also underscored the need to use social media to engage their citizens in matters pertaining to health.
The 126th Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union closes today.
Contact email: gashegu.muramira[at]newtimes.co.rw