Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Ensuring access to health for all women and newborn - the role of parliaments

Third parliamentary conference on maternal and newborn health, 23 to 25 November 2009

Members of parliament from 15 developing and developed countries convened in Kampala, Uganda for the Third Parliamentary Conference on Maternal and Newborn Health. The conference was organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) together with the Parliament of Uganda and was a follow-up to two previous parliamentary meetings.

In London in March 2007, women parliamentarians pledged to promote investment and the implementation of evidence-based interventions in order to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. During the second meeting in the Hague in November 2008, parliamentarians from 32 countries developed a roadmap towards progress in the area of maternal health and identified seven priority areas of action for parliamentarians to help achieve MDG 5 (maternal health).

The Kampala conference entitled 'Ensuring Access to Health for All Women and Newborn - The Role of Parliaments' was opened by H.E. Yoweri K. Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, who framed an 8-point plan for the improvement of maternal and newborn health in his country focusing:

  • creation of health units in sub-counties;
  • adequate drugs, equipment and supplies;
  • pre-natal care;
  • setting up health centres type IV in each constituency;
  • improvement of care at district hospitals;
  • health promotion aimed at reducing adolescent pregnancy;
  • promotion of good nutrition;
  • campaign for health and survival for all .

The conference then showed progress made since the 2008 Hague meeting, highlighted best practices and discussed the role of parliamentarians in achieving MDGs 4 (child survival) and 5. Participants reaffirmed their commitment to ensure access to health services for women and newborn by focusing on action in the areas of financing, legislation and policy, oversight, human resources, service delivery, awareness creation and advocacy, coordination and women's empowerment.

Related links