The Partnership pays tribute to leader in women and children's health
The Partnership is saddened by the passing of a seminal leader in maternal, reproductive and child health, Dr Allan Rosenfield, MD, who died Sunday, 12 October 2008 of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 75 years old.
"We have lost a seminal figure in our field-- a pioneer, an advocate, a key strategist and inspirational leader," said Dr Francisco Songane, Director of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. "Dr Rosenfield has made a significant contribution, and he will be sorely missed by us all."
Dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health for 22 years, and an obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Rosenfield is renowned for his work on women’s reproductive health and human rights, innovative family planning studies, strategies to address the tragedy of maternal deaths in poor countries, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, in particular with relation to women and children in resource-limited settings domestically and globally.
The continuing tragedy of children and women's unnecessary deaths was the focus for Dr Rosenfield's work. He pioneered several programs, including Averting Maternal Death and Disability, (AMDD), bringing together ministries of health, non-governmental organizations and local health professionals to reduce maternal mortality by improving women's access to basic, life-saving treatment. Dr Rosenfield was also involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and its toll on women and children. He was a principal investigator of the MTCT-Plus program, working to prevent the transmission of the virus from mother to child.
Dr Rosenfield is often remembered for both identifying and drawing attention to the enormity of the maternal tragedy in a 1985 Lancet article entitled 'Where is the M in MCH?`, co-authored with Deborah Maine - an article which is still cited today.
To Dr Songane, as an obstetrician/gynaecologist working in the field in Mozambique in the eighties and nineties, Dr Rosenfield's work had special resonance: "His work and wisdom was always rooted in the reality of the field and a deep understanding of the horror experienced by many women in childbirth where services are poor," said Dr Songane. "For us, Allan was a voice not only from a leading institution dealing with policy at the highest international level, but was also someone who fully understood the reality of the front-line. The legacy he leaves us is his determination, openness and inspirational leadership for finding urgent, comprehensive solutions for the problems of women and children today."
Dr. Rosenfield was also involved in the creation of one of The Partnership's original co-founding members - the Partnership for Safe Motherhood. As well as his work as an academic, Dr Rosenfield was also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and held several influential board positions.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Allan Rosenfield's family.
Add your remembrances of Dr Rosenfield to this Tribute to him on The Partnership website and send your thoughts through the Partnership Contribution Form.