This week's conference in Johannesburg provides an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to learn about successes and challenges in improving MNCH across the continent. 

Photo of the Week: International Conference on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Africa

Photo: Ian P. Hurley/Save the Children

Long-time Village Health Team (VHT) master trainer George Mulinda leaves his home in the village of Nakisenyi, in Iganga District, Eastern Uganda before going on a postnatal visit to a women who had given birth at her home late the last evening. He was first trained as a community health worker (CHW) working on malaria campaigns in his area, then became a CHW coordinator and was selected three years ago to become a VHT.

Makerere University School of Public Health with support from the Saving Newborn Lives program of Save the Children (USA), through a grant from Bill Gates Foundation is conducting a cluster randomised study in the Iganga/Mayuge Health Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS) in Iganga and Mayuge Districts.

Health officials from across Africa, including Uganda, representing governments, civil society organizations and development partners will be meeting in Johnannesburg this week to discuss challenges and possible solutions to making greater advancements in reproductive, maternal, child and newborn health. This will help to forge consensus for the post-2015 development agenda. 

The conference will also feature the introduction of an African Union laurate award to recognize personalities across the continent who have made notable contributions in reducing the burden of morbidity and mortality.

The sessions and presentations will encompass innovations in maternal, child and newborn health (MNCH), country experiences, service delivery, gender issues influencing MNCH, monitoring and evaluation tactics, financing, task shifting, maternal mortality audits and male involvement in MNCH, among others.

A special session will also be held to outline the Every Newborn Action Plan, which is now being developed by a broad group of partners through a series of consultation meetings with many African countries. The plan seeks to provide everyone with a roadmap and joint action platform for the reduction of preventable newborn mortality.


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