African Union Heads of State Summit and CARMMA High-Level Event


CARMMA Side-event

Photo credit: UNFPA

Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa hosts high-level meeting

ADDIS ABABA - Twenty heads of states, the Secretary General of the UN and the Chair of the African Union gathered on the sideline of the twentieth ordinary session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Governments to discuss progress to date on women’s and children’s health and to recommit to the eradication of the 165 000 yearly preventable deaths of pregnant women on the continent.

In a session hosted by H.E. Boni Yayi, President of Benin, with UNFPA and the African Union and on the Campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa, heads of states recognized that while maternal deaths have decreased by 41% between 1990 and 2010, more remains to be done. Africa bears a disproportionate burden of maternal and child mortality (57% of global deaths) and morbidity. The continent accounts for 57% of maternal deaths with a lifetime risk of dying of African women at 1 in 39. One in eight African children also die in Africa, with 30% of these deaths occurring among newborns.

Providing contraceptives to the 222 million women in the world who want to delay pregnancy and ensuring access to essential services pre, during and post pregnancy and throughout childhood is essential to progress. Heads of States commit to scaling up efforts to improve services by investing in stronger health systems and developing cross sectoral strategies to improve health outcomes and to integrate the health of women and children in the Post 2015 agenda. Head of States also recognized the importance on investing in youth in light of the increased risk of maternal mortality among adolescent girls.

To date 37 countries have launched CARMMA. These campaigns have increased high level political commitment, country ownership and social mobilization, and given more visibility to maternal, newborn and child health issues in Africa.

The African Union Summit saw additional commitment to improving the health of women and children. The World YWCA and a number of partners organized a series of events on the role of young women in the African renaissance and the post MDG process during the Summit. For the first time in history 50 young women from Africa were accredited to take part in the AU meetings. These women in addition to having dialogues with partners, developed a position statement which was presented to the H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma Zuma, the Chairperson of the AU during a bilateral meeting, and to the President of Malawi, H.E. President Joyce Banda and H.E. Dr Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women and previous president of Chile.

For more information on the breakfast, click on the Breakfast report, on your right .