Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

MPS regional advisers' meeting

5 to 9 May 2008

Aiming at accelerating the progress on MDG 5, the Department of Making Pregnancy Safer hosted a regional advisers' meeting from 5 to 9 May at WHO headquarters in Geneva. MPS Director Monir Islam welcomed advisers from the six WHO regions and focal points from 14 WHO country offices. The countries represented were Bangladesh, Brazil, Guyana, India, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Pakistan, Rwanda, South Africa, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate MPS' work in supporting countries to improve maternal and newborn health, achieve the MDG 5 targets and contribute to the achievement of MDGs 4 and 6. The meeting also aimed at developing a common understanding of strategies and priorities in making pregnancy safer. Besides, it offered the opportunity to build an inter-regional network, in particular to the many new staff members.

MPS Director Dr Monir Islam highlighted the need for monitoring maternal health, which had been too often neglected in the past. "At the midpoint to the Millennium Development Goals the following questions matter," said Dr Monir Islam: "Where are we? Where do we want do go? How far have we gone? And did we make a difference in countries?" To convince countries and donors of the MPS strategies, the progress had to be measurable, he reiterated.

Ms Daisy Mafubelu, Assistant Director-General, Family and Community Health, also welcomed the participants in Geneva. She stressed that little progress had been made in improving maternal health so far. She informed the participants of various initiatives and opportunities to push the MDG 5 agenda forward. "It is in the countries where we need to make a difference, and regional and country staff are at the front line to make this happen," she said. "We have an opportunity to make a difference in countries and I am sure together we will make it."