Evangelicals urge politicians to address maternal health in Africa

Association of African EvangelicalsThe Association of African Evangelicals (AAE) has outlined its concerns in a letter to Thomas Boni Yay, President of Benin and the Chairman of the African Union (AU). The AAE urges members of the African Union to make maternal healthcare an urgent priority when they meet in Ethiopia next week. In particular, the members of African Union are reminded of their pledge 10 years ago to allocate at least 15% of their total annual budgets to the health sector.

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Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The AAE also highlights the wider Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to halve extreme world poverty by 2015. MDG number 5 commits countries to improving maternal health, while goal 5 addresses the need to reduce child mortality. The letter warns that only eight countries in Africa are on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, most African countries are achieving less than 50 per cent of the gains required to reach the goals by 2015. The six AU member states to have met the 15% benchmark are Rwanda, Botswana, Niger, Malawi, Zambia, and Burkina Faso.

The countries on track to meet the MDGs by 2015 are Algeria, Cape Verde, Egypt, Eritrea, Madagascar, Rwanda, the Seychelles and Tunisia. The AAE is being supported in its call by Micah Challenge, an international Christian movement to end poverty. Micah Challenge has recently run campaigns addressing maternal health in Benin and Zimbabwe. In Benin, 500 women presented the health minister with a petition calling for MDGs 4 and 5 to be met.

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