Countdown to 2015 calls for parliamentarians worldwide to legislate and budget for mothers and children
15 April 2008
Cape Town 15 April 2008 - Speaking on behalf of Countdown partners, the Director of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Dr Francisco Songane called for parliamentarians to legislate to save some ten million women and children who die each year.
Dr Francisco Songane spoke to several hundred parliamentarians from across the world who had gathered in Cape Town, South Africa for the 118 Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), just a day before the opening of the Countdown to 2015 Conference and report launch.
Speaking generally of the findings of the report, Dr Songane said: "Some countries have shown rapid progress is possible. We know what to do: universal coverage of proven interventions; integrating care throughout the life cycle, building a responsive health system; sustaining adequate funding, and most important, leadership, commitment and action."
Dr Songane ended by urging parliamentarians to join him at the special Countdown and UNICEF sessions on maternal, newborn and child survival, planned both at the IPU Assembly and subsequent Countdown to 2015 Conference which is also being held in Cape Town.
"Quote of the day": Direct quote from Dr Songane
"Finally, I would like to urge all parliamentarians:
"From your experience, from your leadership and from your commitment, we urge you to represent the voice of women and children…women and children who do not have a voice. You, Members of Parliament, could be their voice and raise their concerns on the international arena to make change happen.
"You have the power to legislate. We ask you to legislate, to ensure universal access to essential care. We ask you to make sure there is no legal hurdle to ensure that women and children benefit from those interventions.
"We ask you to oversee and monitor what the governments are delivering. Question whether they are delivering their commitments and what they said they would do to change the situation.
"Budget and allocate money where it is needed. Allocate money where the difference will be felt most.
"Advocate in your countries and advocate your constituencies for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
"Finally, we ask you to ensure MDGs are a priority issue on the agenda throughout the year--nationally, regionally and internationally. Allocate money and address inequities in order to change the situation -- to ensure that the health of women and children will no longer be 'orphaned' ".
Dr Francisco Songane