11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)
17 March 2008
Geneva, 17 March - The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health welcomes the recent expressions of commitment towards the improvement of Maternal and Child Health by President Wade of Senegal during the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) (Dakar, Senegal, 13-14 March).
"The health of mothers and children is a cornerstone of economic growth and social development". Dr Francisco Songane, Director of the PMNCH said. "The remarks made by President Wade in his speeches remind us that poverty will not be eradicated unless we take care of our mothers and children's health."
During his inaugural and closing speeches, President Wade, the Chair of the OIC for the next three years, asked that oil-rich countries use the interest generated by this wealth to fight poverty in Africa and finance solutions to social problems. The President suggested the creation of a commission which would define the mechanism to collect money for the "development and poverty eradication fund", --expected to amount to US$ 10 billion--and use the money to improve maternal and child health.
A recent visit by Dr Songane to Dakar resulted in strengthened commitment from partners in Senegal to have MNCH placed in the OIC agenda. In addition to working with the Prime Minister's and the Minister of Health's offices, an advocacy and awareness-raising workshop on advocacy for MNCH aimed at journalists was also carried out in advance of the Summit.
President Wade's explicit commitment adds to recent developments in Mozambique, also a member of the OIC, where the President Guebuza launched on February 20 a new initiative on mother and child health.
"These are two recent examples of the commitment needed from country leaders if we are to reduce maternal and child deaths globally. This is the only way to make considerable progress on MDGs 4 & 5 and The Partnership is committed to continue the work with countries and partners to see this progress happen", Dr Songane added.