Earlier this month, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Millennium Village Project (MVP) announced a joint effort to promote universal access to reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa in order to save the lives of young mothers. Combining the strengths of both entities, the partnership will engage UNFPA’s expertise in promoting reproductive rights as well as sexual and reproductive health along with MVP’s multisectoral, science-based approach and primary health-care strategies.
MVP is a partnership between Columbia University’s Earth Institute, non-profit organization Millennium Promise, the UN Development Programme and local governments. The Project works directly with villages in Africa to create and facilitate sustainable, community-led action plans that are tailored to the villages' specific needs and designed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, commented, “Many programmes such as those in the Millennium Villages show that scaling up primary health systems in rural and remote areas plays a decisive role in reducing child and maternal mortality. It is partnerships like these that will make a difference and enable us to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 in the toughest parts of Africa.”
Young mothers are the focal point for this partnership due to the correlation between early motherhood and infant mortality rates, as well as pregnancy complications. For this reason, improving maternal and child health through the scaling-up of family planning, medical supplies, training and education among younger women is critical. The UNFPA-MVP partnership will undertake this by helping local governments to provide supplies to clinics and hospitals in Millennium Village clusters, and by identifying trainers for health personnel.
“We look forward to joining forces with the Millennium Villages Project to widen the availability of sexual and reproductive health services – including family planning, skilled birth attendance, emergency obstetric care and prenatal and postnatal care – across sub-Saharan Africa,” said UNFPA’s recent Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid. She added, “This partnership will go a long way in saving the lives of more mothers, and allowing more families to enjoy a life of prosperity and good health.”
Read the UN Press Release here: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=37049&Cr=reproductive+health&Cr1=