TALKING POINTS FOR AU CHAIR AND PRESIDENT OF MALAWI, H.E.
BINGU WA MUTHARIKA
We are five years from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit and deadline
• In 2015, world leaders will gather to review progress on the MDGs
The next five years will be decisive in determining whether Africa will meet the health-
related MDGs. With increased resources, bold political leadership and coordinated
efforts, major successes are within reach. We can strengthen health systems so they can
deliver quality health-care, resulting in the reduction of deaths due to malaria,
HIV/AIDS, TB, and maternal complications.
The health-related MDGs (MDGs 4, 5 and 6) are closely linked
Improving maternal and child health and combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases is
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 49% of maternal deaths and 50% of under-5 child
An estimated 340,000 women die due to complications in childbirth. The vast majority
of those deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Globally, among women of childbearing age (15-44 years), HIV is the leading cause of
Globally, 8.8 million children a year die before their 5th birthday. At least two-thirds of
all child deaths are preventable
Malaria heavily impacts pregnant women and children. As a major killer of children,
malaria accounts for one quarter of all deaths of children under-five years in Africa.
We can improve maternal and child health
Investing in women and children pays. The global impact of maternal and newborn
deaths has been estimated at US$15 billion a year in lost productivity.
By investing in disease control efforts we can rapidly save the lives of pregnant women
and children. For instance, in Equatorial Guinea, a scale-up of malaria control
interventions since 2004 led to a 63% reduction in all-cause mortality in children under
As African leaders, we are faced with a great opportunity
Together we can improve the health of families and communities, contribute to
economic development and growth in our region
With strong political will and support, increased investment in health and health
systems, we will see great improvements
We have examples on our own continent of remarkable results:
Of the 19 countries that are on track to achieve MDGs 4 and 5, five are in Africa
(Botswana, Egypt, Eritrea, Malawi and Morocco)
Major progress in maternal health has been made in 12 malaria-endemic African
countries where malaria interventions have reached high coverage, including Ethiopia,
Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zambia. More than 200 million nets have
been delivered in just three years;
Senegal reduced its under-five mortality rate by 22% between 1990 and 2006 and now
has the lowest rate of malnutrition in West Africa.
In Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Ethiopia child mortality rates have declined by more
than 40% from 2000-2007.
If our commitment wavers, we risk reversing the gains achieved in recent years in reducing
child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
And we risk losing the lives of millions of women and children from preventable causes.
As Heads of State, Ministers, and leaders in Africa, let us seize the opportunity. I call on you
each of us to:
Renew our commitments made in Abuja a decade ago to allocate 15 percent of our
national budgets to health and live up to our commitments; To date 6 countries in the
region have met the 15 percent commitment.
Call for a fully-funded Global Fund, which is to hold its Replenishment meeting in
October 2010 under the leadership of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Ensure that funding from the Global Fund and other donors remains additional and
complementary to domestic health budgets
Support the removal of taxes, tariffs and non-tariff barriers for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and
TB related drugs and tools to help expand access and affordability for vulnerable
populations, decrease healthcare costs, improve economic development as a result of
reduced absenteeism from work and school and help us achieve MDG goals 4, 5 and 6.
Serve as health champions and support informed national policies, such as a ban on
monotherapies for malaria, that advance the health of women and children by, in
particular, reducing the incidences of Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDs.
We also call on our friends and allies in the G20 and beyond to support our efforts
The efforts by partner organizations and funders—UNAIDS, WHO, Roll Back Malaria,
the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and StopTB—are contributing to saving
lives and need to be further supported and strengthened.
World leaders have: Adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, thus
committing to reducing extreme poverty and improving health outcomes; Added their
voice of support to the UN Secretary General’s Joint Action Plan for Women’s and
Children’s Health….We call on them to live up to these commitments
Donors have an extraordinary opportunity to help scale up the progress we’ve achieved
and work in partnership with Africa to achieve the MDGs. The financial crisis has hit the
developing world as well and we need donor support, now more than ever
BACKGROUND on the AU:
The African Union Has Provided Strong Leadership and recognizes the importance of
investing in health, especially that of women and children. To this effect it developed the
Continental Framework for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, which was put in action by
the Maputo Plan of Action 2007-2010. The AU has also recently launched the Campaign
on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality.
The AU has also developed an Africa Health Strategy 2007-2015, which looks to
complement existing national and regional strategies.
The AU has also served to influence global efforts targeting improved health of women
and children. The United Nations Secretary General's Joint Action Plan for Women’s and
Children’s Health is one example.