Ms Graca Machel, Board Chairperson of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), has appealed to global leaders to make efforts to ensure that every pregnant mother and newborns lived.
With about 500 days more to hit the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, Ms Machel, the wife of late President Nelson Mandela, said the world had in the past 14 years made remarkable progress to improve health and expand the opportunities.
“Despite all efforts, there is still much more to be done. Women and child have not been covered adequately and we must ensure that all women, adolescent girls, education, and realize their full potential,” she added.
Ms Machel threw the challenge to global leaders when she opened the 2014 Partners Forum on PMNCH in Johannesburg being attended by over 800 leaders and public health experts around the world.
The two-day forum will review new data and call for accelerated action to improve maternal, newborn and child birth.
Ms Machel said partnership was the heart of plan for action and there was the need to build continuous consensus to ensure that women and children are the centre of every action.
“We need to have a world in which there are no preventable deaths of newborns or stillbirths, where ever pregnancy is wanted, every birth is celebrated and mothers, babies and children thrive and reach their social and economic potential”, she added.
In a video message, Mrs Hillary Clinton, Former US Secretary of State, commended countries for the tremendous progress in reducing maternal and child deaths and urged all to accelerate the efforts to reduce it further since much could be achieved within the remaining 500 days.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who also gave a video message, said a world free of maternal and child deaths could be created that “will demand that we think creatively and insist on accountability”.
He said all women and children deserved equal chance and should not be denied of anything that will ensure their health and survival.
He reiterated the need for countries to accelerate actions and translate talks into fruitful actions to ensure that within the 500 days left, great achievements would have been made. GNA