News Article: World parliaments prioritise action on maternal, child health
By SOLA OGUNDIPE
PRIORITISATION of action and resources for improving the health of women and children is now a major responsibility of every government all over the world as leaders of 119 national parliaments have resolved to prioritise action and resources for improving the health of women and children so as to achieve targets of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 by 2015.
Rising from a three-day debate which took place in Kampala, Uganda, featuring interventions from more than 50 member-delegations, associate members and observers, including Nigeria, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Indonesia, the parliamentarians who were delegates of the 126th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, passed the resolution.
*Healthy mother, healthy newborn, is the new global priority
It is the first time improvement of maternal and child health will be a parliamentary mandate, in view of the unacceptably high maternal and child mortality rates in Africa, where many countries are not on track to achieve MDGs 4 and 5.
The IPU Assembly was a follow up to the Africa Regional Consultation on Achieving MDG 5 also held in Kampala, organised by the Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office, in collaboration with Women Deliver.
MDG 4 aims to reduce child deaths around the world by two thirds by 2015, while MDG 5 aims to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters by the same year.
Delegates at the Kampala meeting called upon parliamentarians to scrutinize all government health interventions to ensure they are evidence-based, conform to international human rights standards, and are responsive to regular and transparent performance reviews.
A key observation at the Assembly was that parliamentarians play a critical role in allocating resources, enacting laws, overseeing implementation, and reflecting the views of citizens about their access to health services.
Many pregnant women are not being attended to by skilled health professionals during labour and delivery, a major contributing factor to maternal and newborn deaths.
Source: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/04/world-parliaments-prioritise-action-on-maternal-child-health/ and http://allafrica.com/stories/201204100182.html