AU leaders stand up for Africa's women, children

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- African leaders meeting here since Sunday have unanimou sly agreed on an integrated approach that will make the difference in the way the co ntinent's women and children have been treated by health systems and also accelerate the reduction of maternal and infant mortality.
African Union's Commissioner for Social Affairs, Advocate Bience Gawanas, said T uesday that the 15th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly had adopted key actions and cr eated a movement in solidarity with women and children in Africa.
''The lives of African women and children is the concern of everybody.
This sess ion has been a historic first in the sense that the debate strongly focused on the lives of A frica's women and children in development," Gawanas told journalists as the AU Summit approach ed its end later Tuesday.
Among other actions, according to the Commissioner, the Summit has agreed to ext end to every country the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).
The main objective of CARMMA is to accelerate the availability and use of univer sally accessible quality health services which are critical for the reduction of mater nal mortality, especially in countries with high rates.
Since its launch at the fourth session of the AU Health Ministers' Conference, h eld May 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, CARMMA has so far been launched in 23 countries.
These include Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Mauritania, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia.
Explaining that the campaign had so far focused just on maternal mortality, Gawa nas said the AU leaders had decided that it should include the health of newborns and childre n and every member state will observe annually a week of CARMMA.
In addition, the Summit have resolved to strengthen national health systems with comprehensive maternal, newborn and child health services.
Aware of the fact that the majority of African countries would not achieve the M illennium Development Goals (MDGs), the session also noted that it is important to adopt b est health practices that have already been tested in some of the member states.
The Summit has directed the AU Commission to explore the best mechanism for Afri can countries to access funds pledged by the recent G8 Summit, and called on the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to create a window for funding maternal and child health.
In addition, the Heads of State and Government have committed themselves to repo rting annually to the AU Assembly on maternal and child health in their respective countries.
Gawanas appealed to the African media to disseminate information about CARMMA at national level saying: "This is a challenge to make the leaders accountable to the decisions they have taken at this Summit.
We are moving away from the question of 'business as usual' .
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because by the fact that we have adopted thi s cause of action, we understand the enormity of the challenge facing the continent.
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27 july 2010 12:41:00




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