Maternal and Reproductive Health Issues Take Center Stage in Africa

Leaders from 27 African countries gather at ‘African Regional Consultation on Achieving Millennium Development Goal 5’ to make the health of girls and women a regional priority

Kampala, Uganda – On 27-28 March, policymakers, advocates and researchers from across sub-Saharan Africa are gathering in Kampala, Uganda, to reaffirm national and regional commitments to Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 – reducing maternal mortality and ensuring universal access to reproductive health.

At the regional consultation, convened by Partners in Population and Development and global advocacy organization Women Deliver, leading experts will discuss lessons learned in maternal, sexual and reproductive health and identify barriers to meeting the needs of girls and women in the lead-up to the 2015 MDG target date and beyond.

Speakers at the conference will include high-level government representatives from across Africa, such as Ugandan First Lady Janet Museveni; Ugandan Minister of Health Hon. Dr. Christine Ondoa; and Nigerian Parliamentary Advocates for Population and Development CEO Hon. Saudatu Sani. Nearly 30 African parliamentarians will be in attendance. View the complete agenda here.

“I am proud to join this diverse group of stakeholders in Kampala to collaborate around a common goal: improving the lives of Africa’s girls and women,” said Hon. Saudatu Sani. “Every country represented here today has unique experiences to share and, working together, we can develop innovative, cross-cutting solutions to address the most pressing challenges facing girls and women across Africa.”

In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has made progress toward improving maternal, sexual and reproductive health; however, significant challenges still remain. Since 1990, maternal mortality has decreased by 26% across the region, but 39% of pregnancies are still unintended, and only 17% of married women of reproductive age use modern contraception. On average, a woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 31 chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth, and 570 women die each day of pregnancy-related causes. 

“By participating in this important meeting, Africa’s leaders are decisively demonstrating their commitment to improving the lives of Africa’s girls and women,” said Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, Africa Regional Director of Partners in Population and Development. “On this continent and around the world, girls and women play a critical role in their families, communities and nations, and we owe it to them to do all we can to protect their health and well being.”  

Of the eight MDGs, progress toward MDG 5 has been lagging furthest behind. Conference participants will share best practices from across the region and determine how to continue the momentum on girls’ and women’s health beyond 2015.

“We are at a critical juncture in global efforts to improve maternal and reproductive health,” said Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver. “We have seen time and time again that prioritizing girls and women is a good investment – and a smart one. Now, more than ever, we need the political will and resources required to achieve the goals we’ve set and deliver on the promises we’ve made.”

The regional consultation was preceded by a youth pre-conference, which aimed to teach 21 young people from 11 countries how to most effectively use advocacy and communications to amplify maternal, sexual and reproductive health messaging at the local, national and regional levels.

“It is crucial that we engage young people in discussions about reproductive health and family planning early,” said Ghanaian physician and women’s health advocate Dr. Fred Sai, who spoke at the youth pre-conference. “Youth are one of the world’s greatest resources, and we must ensure that they are empowered with the tools and the knowledge they need to lead long, healthy and productive lives.”

The Africa Regional Consultation is the first of four regional meetings hosted by Women Deliver and partner organizations in 2012, with additional events to follow in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East and North Africa. The conversations at these consultations are also intended to help shape the agenda for Women Deliver 2013, Women Deliver’s 3rd Global Conference, which will take place 28-30 May 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Speaker Presentations:

Women Deliver in the News

Entry Comments

    • Apr 02
    • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    This was a very good initiative by women Deliver and i surely enjoyed the deliberations! The discussions were real and passion was expressed by the invited guest speakers which inspired me in a way to keep my promise to action! We have began popularizing the issues of sexual and reproductive health in institutions of learning in Uganda. Bravo!!!!!!

    • Apr 11
    • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Millennium Development Goal (MDG) a way forward in maternal/reproductive health
    In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG), a clarion call should be made around the world for teachers working as chancellors or working in humanitarian offices, Gynecologist/Pediatricians, nurses especially midwifes in both national, states and local government-private and public Hospitals, governmental and non-governmental organizations with interest in maternal/reproductive health and Childs health issues and those NGO’s working as humanitarian officers in both rural and urban settlement the same call should include house wives, market women, girls both in the formal and informal education/work even the unemployed from various regions of every Countries of the world. More so religious bodies should be included.

    As it is a known truth that in some Countries of Africa, early marriages are due to religious reasoning, others are cultures and believes which has eaten deep within the continent especially west Africa.  Chine that rates high in terms of world population as most urban couple are limited to one while the rural dwellers are two, are putting up measures to curb early marriages, number of children for a couple and other related issues to achieve both maternal mortality and child/mothers mortality.  In some region in West Africa it is still an issue to be looked into; young girls are lured to early marriages of which they fall victims later.  This is the number of women with VVF is still on the high side.

    High bride price is another issue of mortality in most women IN African Society for it has not been put into consideration, for this has in several occasion brought about late marriages there-by resulting in the risk of late child bearing leading to death in most cases, also alternatively, most women now opt for the use of young girls as a disguise of house help forcing them to early pregnancy in other to make an exchange on their babies with money a time killing the girl in question for fear of future insecurity.  A good example could be drawn from eastern part of Nigeria.  It is no more the clear issue of adopting children which has been in existence for years. 

    These girls out of maltreatment and mishandling sometimes lose their lives during child bearing.  Now the clamor against early marriage should equally show concern for high bride prices which on the long run has frustrated a lot of marriages, keeping them in perpetual pain. 

    Frankly the African society has not help matters instead, as nothing has been done for the reduction of these prices.  Now the question is should only the rich be the ones to get wife isn’t it an age issue?  When someone comes of age he/she gets married.  A matured man who is of age to get married and did not, is at risk.  Many men gave up the issue of marriage due to lack of money.

    The issue of late marriages which is affecting both men and women in Africa, can also be traced as a result of war in some region of Africa a case study could be derived from the Nigerian Civil war where many home loosed their father a supposed bread winner of an average home, now depend on the eldest children taking responsibility of the younger ones and these has caused the most eldest children to either wait for the youngest to get married or not getting married at all due to over maturity.

Speak Up!
  Remember me next time.
Notify me of follow-up comments.