Eritrea launches Campaign on Accelerated Reduction for Maternal Mortality in Africa
Asmara, Eritrea - 14 September 2010
It is with great pleasure and honour that I stand here on behalf of the UN family to speak at this historic event – the launch of Eritrea’s Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA). This is a major step towards ensuring that no woman dies while giving life in this country. Clearly, this launch is indicative of the political commitment at the highest level and demonstrative of the leadership to meet one of the key challenges of the MDGs and a national development goal: the accelerated reduction of maternal mortality in Eritrea.
Those of us who have followed events closely in Eritrea since 1991 have watched with admiration the high political commitment in all sectors of your national endeavour, including ensuring universal access to quality reproductive health services and child care. The country has taken bold steps by putting into effect the Road Map for the reduction of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. Eritrea is among a few African countries that are on track to achieve the MDG targets of reduction of under-five mortality (from 125 per 1000 in 1995 to 75 per 1000 in 2002). And it has significantly reduced maternal mortality (from 998 per 100,000 in 1995 to 450 per 100,000 in 2005). This is commendable, and testimony to the leadership’s commitment to the health of the population.
However there is a need to intensify, replicate and scale-up the best practices. We manifest this direction with the launch of CARMMA today. Eritrea can and should achieve fully MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015.
Maternal morbidity and mortality represents the largest health inequity in the world. Yet, maternal deaths and disability could be reduced dramatically if every woman had access to health services throughout her life cycle, especially during pregnancy, child birth and post delivery. It is in this respect that the African Union with the support of the UN system initiated CARMMA to effectively address the problem of maternal mortality and child health.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the Campaign being launched today is about making maternal health a priority in the policies and national development agenda of Eritrea and indeed Africa. Most of all, it is about saving lives – the lives of our mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and friends whom we love and cherish.
Today’s launch of CARMMA is a great milestone and clear evidence of the Government’s fundamental commitment towards accelerated reduction of maternal mortality in Eritrea. The commitment of the Government of the State of Eritrea has been recognised at the international level by the H4 group (WHO, UNICEF, World Bank and UNFPA),
as manifested in the publication that will be released of the estimates of maternal mortality for all countries of the world in Geneva tomorrow. Eritrea’s figure shows a dramatic reduction in maternal mortality since its independence in 1993. I salute the Government and people of Eritrea for this great achievement. I wish to reiterate that the UN, especially the lead agencies, WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS and UNFPA, will continue to support Eritrea’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality.
No woman in Eritrea should die while giving life.