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White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Challenges World Economic Forum on Africa to Invest in Women's Health
Date:6/5/2008

Says Maternal Deaths Indicator of Failures to Provide Basic Health Care to Women

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, June 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood today made public its challenge to world leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum on Africa to invest in women's health as necessary to save the lives of women needlessly lost in pregnancy and childbirth. "While we, too, see tremendous opportunity in this, the fourth straight year of record-breaking economic growth in Africa, we can not accept that in these same countries women continue to die in childbirth, only because they can not access basic health care," said Rose Mlay, National Coordinator of the White Ribbon Alliance in Tanzania.

Citing recent reports that the UN Millennium Development Goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015 is unlikely to be met in Asia until 2076 and many years later in Africa, Mlay was joined by White Ribbon Alliance leaders from 17 countries - including Burkina Faso, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia - who uphold maternal health is a human right and underscore that a woman's risk of dying in childbirth is 1 in 26 in Africa, as compared to 1 in 7,300 in industrialized regions.

"Maternal mortality is the single greatest indicator of the failure of governments to ensure their people a functioning health care system," said Jamilah Al-Sharie, Secretary General of the White Ribbon Alliance in Yemen. "Whether in Bangladesh or Zambia, where there is the political will to invest in health care systems to provide quality obstetric and emergency care, almost all women live through the complications that would otherwise kill them."

"Every minute another woman dies in childbirth," said Jeremie Zoungrana, National Coordinator of the Alliance in Burkina Faso. "We urge the members of the World Economic Forum to use their influence and resources to make sure richer nations meet their obligations to assist poor nations
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SOURCE White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood
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