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Using science to save lives of mothers and children in Africa
Date:11/9/2009

nce-based priorities presented in this report," said Professor Reginald Fraser Amonoo, president of the Ghana Academy Arts and Sciences, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and hosting the ASADI conference.

The new report, SCIENCE IN ACTION: SAVING THE LIVES OF AFRICA'S MOTHERS, NEWBORNS, AND CHILDREN, encourages policymakers and other stakeholders to use a scientific approach when setting priorities to improve maternal, newborn, and child health. In particular, local data should be used to identify and prioritize strategic, evidence-based, and essential health interventions that, if scaled up, would have the greatest impact on saving lives.

The report includes a new analysis in which modeling software called the LIVES SAVED TOOL (LIST) was used to estimate the number of lives that would be saved by increasing coverage of a range of essential maternal, newborn, and child health interventions. The analysis suggests that if, by 2015, 90 percent of children under five years old and mothers were covered by already well-known and essential health interventions, about 4 million lives would be saved annually, avoiding an estimated 85 percent of current maternal, newborn, and child deaths; this would exceed the MDGs for maternal and child health. Some of the most effective interventions include increased availability of contraception, skilled attendance at childbirth, neonatal resuscitation and improved newborn care, case management of pneumonia, and promotion of breastfeeding, malaria prevention, and immunization.

The authors of the report also used national data to assess the effect of achievable increases within two years in priority interventions in the seven countries with science academies participating in ASADI -- Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda -- as well as Ethiopia and Tanzania. Achievable increases are defined as improvements in the quality of care for all births that take place in
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Contact: William Kearney
wkearney@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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