Knowledge, Resources Exist To Reach Maternal, Child Mortality MDGs In Africa With Unified Efforts

In this Global Health and Diplomacy opinion piece, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete examines efforts to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on maternal and child mortality in Africa, noting, “Although Africa has just 12 percent of the global population, it accounts for half of all maternal deaths and half the deaths of children under five.” He writes, “Though global maternal deaths are in decline and women’s health has at last become a global priority, our goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75 percent in 2015 is still a long way off. … It is unacceptable to allow mothers and children to die when we have the knowledge and resources to save them.”

Kikwete discusses issues with access to skilled birth attendants on the continent, highlights the role of education in the reduction of maternal and child deaths, and writes, “Last year, the United Nations General Assembly launched the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health” — which “calls for the support of all stakeholders in order to enhance financing, strengthen policy and improve service delivery for the most vulnerable women and children.” He concludes, “In order to meet our goals, we must track resources and meet commitments, providing transparency, credibility and efficiency. All of these efforts must be supported by a unified, global accountability structure” (Winter 2012).