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Letter to the African Heads of State (Sign Your Name!)

It is a simple truth: The Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved in Africa without addressing sexual and reproductive health. In 2006, recognizing that women and girls deliver enormous social and economic benefits to their families, communities, and nations, the African Union boldly adopted a short-term plan to achieve the MDGs and save women’s lives in their continent: The Maputo Plan of Action. You understood the needs and realities of your countries, you came together, and you adopted a plan that moved sexual and reproductive health higher on Africa’s political agenda. We commend you for taking the lead in addressing sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health and family planning.

Now, the Maputo Plan of Action is about to expire, and we’re calling on you to reenergize your efforts to achieve the goals that you set in 2006. It’s time to build on the legacy of the Maputo Plan, and to move forward with renewed determination to save the lives of millions of women and girls. [Read more...]

G8 Communiqué Commits to Maternal Health, Child Health, and Family Planning; Safe Abortion Absent

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

The G8 leaders have released their communiqué, the consensus reached during the last two days of discussions. As we’ve blogged about over the past days, Canada placed maternal and child health at the forefront of the G8 discussion. As the communiqué states:

“Progress towards MDG 5, improving maternal health, has been unacceptably slow. Although recent data suggests maternal mortality has been declining, hundreds of thousands of women still lose their lives every year, or suffer injury, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Much of this could be prevented with better access to strengthened health systems, and sexual and reproductive health care and services, including voluntary family planning. Progress on MDG 4, reducing child mortality, is also too slow. Nearly 9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. These deaths profoundly concern us and underscore the need for urgent collective action. We reaffirm our strong support to significantly reduce the number of maternal, newborn and under five child deaths as a matter of immediate humanitarian and development concern. Action is required on all factors that affect the health of women and children. This includes addressing gender inequality, ensuring women’s and children’s rights and improving education for women and girls."

Read more...

The Numbers Game: The G8 Commits $5 Billion

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

Following up on Canada’s pledge of $1.1 billion of new money over five years, the G8 countries pledge a total of $5 billion. Bolstered by another $2.3 billion from six non-G8 countries, the Gates Foundation, and the UN Foundation, that brings the total contributions to maternal and child health to $7.3 billion.

“Some countries pledged relatively more than others, at least relative to the size of their economies,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Obviously the differences in pledges have to do with differences in priorities, but also differences in financial situations.”

Oh Canada! It’s Good News for Maternal Health

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $1.1 billion in new spending over five years for maternal and child health programs in poor countries, bringing total spending to almost $3 billion, today at the G8 summit.

Canada already devotes $1.75 billion for existing programs to maternal health over the next five years, meaning the additional funds will bring the total mix of new and existing funds to $2.85-billion.

Help spend Bill and Melinda’s money!

originally posted at Conversations for a Better World

This week, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have promised to spend $1.5 billion on family planning, nutrition and general health of women and children in developing countries over the next five years.  But they didn't say exactly /how/ they will invest the money. This is where your ideas come into the picture!  more...

Good News and Bad in Countdown 2015 Progress Report

By Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 8 – Despite some encouraging signs,  a “dramatic acceleration” of investment and action will be required if the world is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals related to maternal and child health by the 2015 deadline, the global tracking project Countdown to 2015 reported here today.

In new research findings released at the three-day Women Deliver 2010 conference here, the report said only 19 of the 68 countries being followed are on track to achieve MDG 4, reducing child deaths by three-quarters by 2015, and only five will achieve MDG 5, lowering mothers’ deaths by the same percentage. Ten countries actually lost ground in the past five years, the study said.  more...

UNFPA and CARE Announce Partnership to Improve Maternal Health Globally

WASHINGTON, D.C., 7 June 2010—Leaders from UNFPA,  United Nations Population Fund, and CARE International announced today at the Women Deliver Conference  an agreement to enhance collaboration on maternal health programs  in more than 25 countries.  This unique collaboration will bring together UNFPA’s effective work with national governments and CARE’s expertise in engaging local communities.

"No woman should die giving life. Through collaboration we can make a bigger impact to improve the health of women and girls. UNFPA partners with governments, other UN agencies and civil society to advance the health and rights of women and girls, and we welcome this new partnership with CARE," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, when signing the agreement at the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC.  more...

Silent Support is Not Enough, Speakers Say

By Joanne Omang

Political decision-makers will not invest in women’s health needs until their constituents insist on it, participants at the Women Deliver 2010 were reminded today.

In small breakout discussions and plenary sessions, speaker after speaker said “only squeaky wheels get any grease,” as one observer summed up.

Opponents of women’s reproductive rights “have created a visible and vocal constituency that makes politicians afraid to act on our concerns,” noted IPAS executive vice president Anu Kumar in a session on dealing with unsafe abortion. “Vocal and visible leaders in a vocal and visible constituency are critical aspects of moving forward.”  more...

Tanzania Triples Budget for Contraceptives

According to a representative from IPPF, and as a result of advocacy activities by Tanzanian civil society, the Tanzania government has tripled is national budget line allocated for contraceptives to $7.65 million.

Liya Kebede: Advocate for Maternal Health

Today, supermodel, actress, and mother Liya Kebede posted to the Huffington Post about, "We Need a Global Fund for Moms."

Budget Analysis and Maternal Mortality

The International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights (IIMMHR) just released a publication called "The Missing Link: Applied Budget Work as a Tool to Hold Governments Accountable for Maternal Mortality Reduction Commitments."

Kofi Annan on the G-20 Summit

Reflecting on this past weekend's G-20 summit on the global economy, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, "It would be incredibly short-sighted - as well as immoral - for wealthy countries to use this financial crisis to drop promises to help the poorest."

Financial Crisis: What it Means for the MDGs

These are tough economic times for most countries around the world, but Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of continued support for the efforts of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to empower the world’s women, particularly to improve maternal health and promote gender equality. 

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