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Stronger Health Systems and Better Maternal Health Critical to African Development, Japan Summit Affirms
Date:5/30/2008

of implementation to achieve all the other goals," she said.

"Of all the Millennium Development Goals, MDG 5 is generating the least resources and lagging the furthest behind. And African women and families are paying the price," UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid stressed in a session on achieving the goals. She called on all leaders "to make the health of women a political and development priority."

Citing last year's Maputo Plan of Action on reproductive health, the Yokohama Action Plan calls for universal access to reproductive health services and an increase in the proportion of African women who give birth with skilled assistance to 75 per cent in five years. Trained midwives currently attend fewer than half of all deliveries in the region.

"African leaders and their development partners have recognized that investing in women and reproductive health is critical to successful development," Ms. Obaid said after the action plan was adopted. "UNFPA is ready to help put this commitment into practice."

The Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development continued a 15-year policy dialogue between Africa and its development partners to foster Asia-Africa trade, investment and technical cooperation.

TICAD IV -- co-organized by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank -- sought to promote scaled up investments in health, education, agriculture and food security, infrastructure, trade facilitation and national statistical capacity; more predictability in development assistance; and better collaboration in support of African countries' efforts to achieve the MDGs.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for polic
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SOURCE UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund
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