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Africa has done remarkably well in reducing maternal mortality but lacks behind in child mortality

Emnet Assefa

Commissioner of Social Affairs at the African Union, Dr Mustapha S. Kaloko said despite some recorded progress on the status of maternal, new born and child health in Africa, the continent still falls short to meet the targets set for the MDGs.

The continent still contributes the highest proportion of under-five deaths with 1 in 8 children dying before their 5th birthday, said the Commissioner, mentioning Maternal, New born and Child Health Report of 2012.

“A number of African countries brought changes towards reducing maternal mortality, but I admit we haven’t done much on child mortality and member states need to do much more in that” said Dr Kaloko.

The report states that under- nutrition, hunger and mortality from preventable illness remain a challenge not only to health status of children but socio-economic development of the member states and the continent as a whole.  Health services such as family planning, antenatal care and skilled delivery at birth are still low throughout the continent.

Health resource allocation to health sectors remain inadequate to facilitate delivery of quality health services in the continent after 12 years of the Abuja commitment that pushes countries to dedicate 15% of their national spending to health. So far only six African countries have met the target.

According to the commissioner, the commission is still working to bring the numbers down and is working in partnership with international organizations such as USAID and UNFPA, not only on maternal and child mortality but also on HIV/AIDS. Just last week, US ambassador to the African Union, Michael Battle stressed his government’s readiness while launching Partnership Quilt at the African Union Commission’s new building.

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