African states pledge US$17 billion to revitalize maternal, child health

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Eight Sub-Saharan African countries have pledged about 17 billion U.S. dollars to help resuscitate maternal, infant and adolescent healthcare services that suffered disruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), the new financial pledges from African countries reaffirmed their commitment to improve the health of women, children and youth in the post-pandemic era.

Helen Clark, board chair of PMNCH, said in a statement issued in Nairobi Wednesday that middle and low-income countries, with majority in Africa, have taken the lead in promoting domestic financing toward maternal and infant health.

According to Clark, out of the 32.1 billion dollars that had been pledged to support healthcare services for women, girls, children and youth to date, 60 percent or 18.9 billion dollars was committed by low and middle-income countries.

The eight African countries that have pledged to increase domestic financing toward maternal, infant and adolescent health were Burkina Faso, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Among crucial services that will benefit from the latest funding includes safe deliveries, improved access to modern contraceptives, nutrition, provision of safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Childhood immunization, recruitment of additional healthcare personnel, as well as sustaining the supply of essential medicine and health commodities have also been factored in the latest financial commitment by African states.

Joy Phumaphi, executive secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, said that adequate financing is key to ensuring that women, children and adolescents have access to quality healthcare services and social protection, suggesting that African governments should prioritize the revival of sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls to reduce unintended pregnancies. Enditem

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