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Country action is needed for maternal and child health in Africa
Date:6/21/2010

Sub-Saharan Africa has only 11% of the world's population, yet more than half of the world's maternal, newborn and child deaths, and two-thirds of the world's AIDS deaths. New data reveal that the pace of mortality reduction is accelerating. With only 5 years remaining before the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) should be met, urgent action in countries is needed not global statistics and competitions over estimates.

Two new articles in this week's PLoS Medicine analyse the current status of maternal, newborn, and child health in Africa, and identify which interventions hold the greatest potential in varying countries to prevent the nearly 4.7 million mothers, newborns, and children deaths that occur each year in sub-Saharan Africa. The publication of these two articles launches a PLoS Medicine series on maternal, newborn, and child health in Africa, which will continue through 13 July 2010. Based upon consultations with 60 scientists and policy makers from nine countries and using local and regional data, the series' authors provide a snapshot of maternal, newborn, and child health in the region, review evidence-based solutions, and identify high-impact opportunities for reducing maternal and child mortality.

In the first paper, Dr. Joy Lawn from Save the Children and colleagues report that rapid progress is being made for some health challenges but the five biggest challenges for maternal, newborn, and child health in sub-Saharan Africa are complications of pregnancy and childbirth, newborn illness, childhood infections, malnutrition, and HIV/AIDS. Many scientifically proven interventions are available but most are underused in African countries, say the authors. For example, across the region 71% of pregnant women receive at least one antenatal care visit with a doctor, nurse, or midwife. But less than half of all births are attended by skilled personnel, less than a third of mothers and babies receive routine postnatal c
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Contact: Andrew Hyde
press@plos.org
44-122-346-3330
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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