The levels of maternal and newborn mortality are still unacceptably high in our Region and the decline of maternal mortality between 1990 and 2005 in sub-Saharan Africa was only 0.1% per year while to achieve MDG 5 we need a decline of at least 5.5% per year . This calls for intensified efforts for scaling up priority interventions to improve access to and availability of skilled attendance. The percentage of births attended by skilled personnel is still very low; the average is 46.5%, with a variation of 6% to 99%, with 21 countries with coverage below 50% and 37 below 80%.

The main issues related to this dramatic situation include inadequate translation of policies into action, weak health systems, especially the acute shortage of human resources, inadequate allocation of funds and poor community participation in MNCH interventions, aggravated by malaria and HIV infections. In addition, poverty and high levels of illiteracy in many African countries contribute to the low status of women and poor health seeking behaviour of communities which negatively affect women's health.

There is urgent need to accelerate the scaling up of key interventions to increase our chances of attaining the MDGs related to maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). The most important challenges that need to be addressed are:

  • Increasing the capacity and availability of skilled personnel to meet national needs;
  • Increasing the availability of adequate financial resources at national and district levels for MNH and reducing the heavy dependence on project funds;
  • Improving the coordination and harmonization of approaches between programmes, levels and partners;
  • Ensuring the integration of programmes at regional and national levels, especially the integration of MIP, NUT, PMTCT and FP into MNCH services.
  • Increasing the community participation

In our Region, the response to this situation is guided by the Road Map for accelerating the attainment of MDGs related to maternal and newborn health and the coordination of its implementation is under the Making Pregnancy Safer area of work which comprises four programme components: Skilled Attendance, Newborn health, Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMCT) and Community Involvement.

For more information:

Dr Triphonie Nkurunziza
Telephone: +47 241 39132
E-mail: Este endereço de e-mail está protegido contra spambots. Você deve habilitar o JavaScript para visualizá-lo.

Related Links:

  1. WHO Headquaters - Making Pregnancy Safer