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


African Heads of State and Government of the AU's communique

"Reinforcing the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa”

High level Event at the 20th Ordinary Session of AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government

We, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), meeting at the High Level Event of our 20th Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 27, 2013 and deliberating on “Reinforcing the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa”;

We recall the Executive Council Decision No. EX. CL/516 (XV) of 2010 on the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) and acknowledge progress with regards to maternal and child health, including the 41% reduction in maternal mortality ratio since 1990 and the 33% reduction in child mortality during the same period in our Continent and the launching of the Campaign (CARMMA) in 37 Member States;

We discussed innovative and best practices implemented by a number of member states to improve maternal, newborn and child health, while stressing our concern that the current rate of progress is inadequate to meet the targets of MDGs 4 and 5;

We took due cognizance of the urgency to speed up actions to strengthen our health system to improve access to essential services, including the need to raise additional resources for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) and improve the health of mothers, newborns and children;

Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following;

  • Collectively and individually redouble efforts to improve maternal, newborn and child health and thereby reduce maternal and child mortality to accelerate progress towards MDGs 4 and 5;
  • Request the Africa Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), serving as the secretariat for CARMMA, to establish a continental structure to monitor and follow up on progress and facilitate the sharing of best practices among member states;
  • Encourage member states that have not yet done so to launch CARMMA and invite all member states to explore innovative and sustainable approaches to channel additional human and financial, domestic and external resources to reinforce action on maternal, newborn and child health;
  • Request the Africa Development Bank in collaboration with the AUC and UNFPA to develop a framework for the establishment of a mechanism to source, pool and manage resources in support of Maternal Newborn and Child Health including through the promotion of inter-continental cooperation on best practices;
  • Foster and strengthen global and country level partnership with development partners including civil society, professional associations, private sector and women’s and youth groups;
  • Expand access to family planning and other reproductive health services and reduce the huge unmet needs for contraception;
  • Take concrete measures to strengthen health systems with a particular focus on improving health infrastructure and ensuring effective supply chain management for life-saving commodities to support universal access to high impact maternal and newborn health interventions, especially under the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy and its Commissions;
  • Invest in human resources for health, building skilled and motivated health workforces, including midwives in particular, to increase access to skilled birth attendance and strengthen emergency referral;
  • Scale-up coverage of more effective antiretroviral (ARV) interventions and safer infant feeding practices to eliminate mother to child transmission, while implementing other measures to prevent new HIV infections among women in reproductive age; and
  • Recognize the need for an international conference on maternal health to be held in 2013 as an opportunity to share best practices and enhance south-south cooperation.