Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Africa: AU Leaders Pledge to Reduce Child Deaths

African leaders have pledged to eliminate maternal and child mortality before 2015.
While debating on Monday on the theme of the African Union Summit in Kampala - Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa - the leaders committed to achieving this by the deadline of fulfilling Millennium Development Goals.

Leaders said they were concern that whereas the majority of those who contribute to socio-economic development are women, they still face a myriad of health challenges which can easily be tackled.

All leaders and participants agreed that there was more political will in Africa today to improve the welfare of women and children than at any other time in the history of the continent.

Participants - including leaders of civil society groups, media personalities and government officials - said women and children are the engines of development and therefore emphasised the need to allocate more resources to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.

The Kenya Government has been at the forefront in implementing new strategies that have helped reduce the infant mortality rate from 77 per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 52 per 1,000 in 2009.

Through these new measures, mortality rates for those under five years have also reduced from 115 per 1,000 in 2003 to 74 per 1,000 live births in 2009.

On the sidelines of the AU Summit, President Kibaki attended a consultative meeting on Somalia.

The talks focused on the current security situation in Somalia.

Others who attended the meeting included the host, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

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