Seeking commitment from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) countries for MNCH

6 March 2008

Journalists Workshop, 6 March 2008
WHO/Marta Seoane
Journalists Workshop, 6 March 2008

Dakar 6 March 2008 - In advance to the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference , which started on March 13, an advocacy and awareness-raising workshop to reach journalists was organized in Dakar on 6 March. The workshop brought together country and international partners working for MNCH in Senegal and the region, and gathered an audience of over 40 journalists who responded positively to the invitation issued by the Ministry of Health.

The journalists listened to presentations about Child and Maternal Health in Senegal and the opportunity that the upcoming 11th Summit of the OIC represents for new funds towards the improvement of the regional situation.

The session was chaired by Dr Youssouf Gaye, who opened the panel by addressing the audience on behalf of the Director of Health at the Ministry of Health. At the table, representatives from UNICEF (Ian Hopwood, Representative Senegal), WHO (Dr Isseu Diop Touré), UNFPA (Safietou Ndiaye), USAID (M. Camara), the World Bank (Mademba Ndiaye), as well as two health specialists, professors at the University of Dakar (Prof. Guélaye Sall and Prof Ousmane Ndiaye) introduced themselves and framed the session.

Following the quick introduction of the panel, journalists listened to a presentation about the facts of MNCH in Senegal by Dr Fatou Nar Mbaye Diouf, Director of the Reproductive Health Division at the Ministry of Health. She stressed the need to build capacity by training health professionals in the country, and the need to work in partnership to mobilize new financial resources to make notable and consistent progress on MDGs 4 & 5.

6 March 2008, Journalists Workshop, Dakar
WHO/Marta Seoane
6 March 2008, Journalists Workshop, Dakar

Marta Seoane welcomed the audience and thanked partners on behalf of Dr Francisco Songane. She presented The Partnership and gave a brief overview of the current global statistics on maternal, newborn and child health, focusing afterwards on the situation in the OIC countries, and particularly in the African OIC countries, highlighting the need for urgent funding and action if progress in MDGs 4 & 5 is to be made not only in the region but also at the global level.

The journalists were given an overview of the major developments occurred in the international context for maternal and child health such as the launch of the Global Campaign for the Health MDGs and its pillars, including the International Health Partnership and the need for a global advocacy drive which highlights financial needs for the achievement of the MDGs related to Maternal and Child Health. There was a reminder of previous commitments towards health financing already signed by some of the OIC countries such as the Abuja Declaration or the Paris Aid Declaration. Portraying the OIC Summit as an excellent opportunity for action, it was stated that an additional US 4 billion would be needed in 35 OIC countries to scale up maternal, newborn and child health interventions.

A short background document entitled “investing for MNCH in the OIC countries” was distributed as part of a comprehensive press package for the participants. The document highlights the links between investment in MNCH and poverty reduction, and presents the case for the use of the Fund for Poverty Reduction of the Islamic Development Bank to this end.

The panel closed after a short question and answer session and discussion with the journalists and comments from the table.

Background document
Press package/Dossier de presse
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