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Joint news note

DR Congo aims to save the lives of 430,000 children and 7,900 mothers by 2015

KINSHASA, 31 May 2013 – The Minister of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dr. Félix Kabange Numbi Mukwampa, today launched a comprehensive approach to health with the aim of saving the lives of 430,000 children under five years of age and some 7,900 mothers by 2015 under the banner of A Promise Renewed.

"The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is committed to make every effort to reduce women and children’s mortality, lead the necessary interventions so that health services can provide quality care to the population, and coordinate efforts with its partners to further strengthen the health system,” the minister said.

The launch is part of a global call for action that brought Ministers of Health, Finance and Development together in Washington, DC, in June 2012 to accelerate the reduction of maternal, child and neonatal mortality. This call for action challenges the world to reduce child mortality in every country to 20 deaths of fewer for 1,000 live births by 2035.

If this goal is achieved an additional 45 million lives would be saved globally before 2035, bringing the world closer to the ultimate goal of preventing child mortality.

At the launch in Kinshasa, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta emphasized the direct link between the right to survival for every mother and every child and the progress of countries.

"It is not a dream to imagine that levels of child mortality in the DRC can be reduced to those the richest countries,” she said. “The global commitment is renewed; the partners in the DRC are mobilized. With creativity and a strong national political will all children and their mothers, even those in the most remote areas, can have access to interventions necessary to overcome the major causes of mortality".

"USAID and all the donors are fully engaged and working closely with the Congolese government to end maternal and child preventable deaths. We must see each death of a Congolese child not only as a tragedy for his family, but also a tragedy for the nation,” said Dr. Diana B. Putman, the Director of USAID DRC.

“Thanks to the interventions undertaken in the USAID-supported health zones, we already contribute significantly to the reduction of maternal and child mortality in the DRC," she added.

Chris Pycroft, Head of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), said: "It is no longer acceptable that Congolese women die either during pregnancy, childbirth, or following complications. DFID will use all means at its disposal to ensure safe pregnancies that lead to the birth of a healthy child.”
Jean Michel Dumond, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation, announced a contribution of €40 million euros from the European Union to support the framework for accelerating progress towards Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 – the reduction of maternal, child and neonatal mortality.
He stressed the longstanding partnership between the European Union and the Ministry of Public Health of the DRC, as well as UNICEF. "Our renewed promise in the health sector to achieve MDGs 4 and 5 is only one example of our commitment to the principle that every man, woman and child in the DRC, without exception, should have access to health services and quality drugs," he said.
DRC is the third overall contributor to the global mortality of children under five years old, after India and Nigeria.

One in six children, or about 465,000, die each year before the age of 5 in the DR Congo. Most deaths are due to diseases that could be prevented with simple and inexpensive measures, such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and diseases affecting newborns. Every 30 minutes, at least one woman dies in childbirth in the DRC.



UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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For more information, please contact:

Cornelia Walther, Chief Communication, UNICEF Democratic Republic of Congo, Tel: + 243 99 100 63 07, cwalther@unicef.org




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