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UNFPA and Amref partner to strenghten health systems

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October 31, 2014 (NAIROBI) – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has reaffirmed its commitment to a partnership with Amref Health Africa to improve the health of women and children in Africa.

Amref Health Africa’s director-general, Teguest Guerma, and Laura Laski, chief of sexual and reproductive health at UNFPA (Photo courtesy of Amref)

Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Amref Health Africa and UNFPA in Nairobi, Kenya, Laura Laski, the chief of sexual and reproductive health at UNFPA, said the partnership would strengthen health systems by training midwives to enable them respond to maternal, neonatal and adolescent health-related issues.

“UNFPA values Amref Health Africa because you are an African international organisation that has experience in building capacity on the continent, and particularly in training midwives,” said Laski.

UNFPA has reportedly been focussing on increasing the numbers and skills of midwives to contribute towards meeting the United Nations-initiated Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5.

“Midwives are very important because they can handle many issues such as child birth, family planning services and sexually transmitted diseases. They are also close to the communities, so they form a powerful link between the people and the formal health systems,” stressed Laski.

“The goal of the partnership was to ensure that African countries had enough midwives to meet the health needs of women,” she added.

Amref Health Africa’s director general, Teguest Guerma reiterated the importance of midwives to the survival of mothers in Africa.

“Mothers are the heart of communities. They hold families, communities and entire nations together. We must continue to ensure that they are well taken care of as they go through the important process of bringing new life into the world, and their children survive and thrive for the prosperity of future generations,” said Guerma.

She emphasised that high maternal mortality in Africa was an unfinished agenda of the MDGs and one of the critical issues that will be discussed at next month’s Amref Health Africa International conference that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from 24-26 November.

The Amref Health Africa boss, however, urged African governments to increase their commitment and contribution to health development, as well as individuals, corporates and institutions.

(ST)

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