Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Clinton pledges US help on global maternal health initiative

OSLO — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday the United States would provide $75 million (60.5 million euros) to a private-public effort to improve the health of mothers and their babies in developing countries. Norway, the host of an international conference focusing on maternal health, said it would join the United States by adding another $80 million to the initiative dubbed "Saving Mothers, Giving Life." "It doesn't focus on a single intervention, but on strengthening health systems to protect mothers when they're most at risk -- during labour, delivery and the 24 hours after birth," Clinton told the conference. She said the initiative was beginning with projects in Zambia and Uganda, and would take the most effective lessons drawn from those experiences and apply them in other countries. The initiative draws from both funds and the experience from the US international AIDS response programmes to focus on what proponents say is a key health care challenge with broad implications for societies as a whole. Countries that have upgraded their health systems have seen maternal mortality rates drop dramatically, while in countries where health care systems have crumbled, maternal mortality rates have shot up, she said. "Maternal health has value in its own right, and is also deeply connected to a broader purpose: achieving the strong health systems that will help developing countries improve life for more of their people," Clinton said. More HERE