On July 31, 2009, was set aside by the Africa Union for "Celebrating African Women’s Day"! I am urging you to join us in our continuing efforts to advocate for quality Maternity services for our disadvantaged sisters who continue to die needlessly in underserved communities!!
Death and disability of women have profound public health, human rights, and socio-economic consequences for families, communities, and countries. The highest figures of these deaths are recorded in developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa where rates in some countries are as high as 2000 per 100,000 live births, compared to less than 10 per 100,000 in the developed world. Problems include poor quality of health services, poor accessibility and weak referral systems. In-order to achieve MDG 5, the importance of enabling environments to promote good health of women cannot be over-emphasized. Yet, until recently, there has been profound lethargy of political will to aggressively address maternal health!
The Regional Prevention of Maternal & Neonatal Mortality (RPMM) Network is a non- governmental organization (NGO), consisting a network of multidisciplinary and multi-sector teams of professionals, currently in 22 Sub-Saharan African countries , working to contribute to the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality in Africa, through capacity-building and advocacy. At our last regional review meeting in November 2008, it was agreed that the RPMM Network National Teams should consider celebrating the African Women’s Day, set aside for the 31 of July by the African Union.
The aim of celebrating the day is to draw attention to, and focus on addressing maternal and neonatal mortality in Africa. Our plan is to identify problems that need to be highlighted, first for that day and then follow up on the activities, to set targets on what we aim to achieve for the year, and beyond.