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Joint Press Release - Action plans launched to improve reproductive, maternal, neonatal & child health



Action plans launched to improve reproductive, maternal, neonatal & child health

KABUL, 8 December, 2013 – The Ministry of Public Health and its UN partners today announced the introduction of two action plans to further reduce maternal, neonatal and child deaths in the country. The event was attended by Dr. Suraya Dalil, the Minister of Public Health, Ms. Karin Hulshof, Regional Director of UNICEF for South Asia, Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, WHO Afghanistan Representative, Wilfred Ochan, UNFPA Afghanistan Deputy Representative and representatives of development partners and donors.

While great progress has been made in recent years, maternal and child mortality rates in Afghanistan still remain among the highest in the world. According to the recent Afghanistan Mortality Survey, out of every 1000 live births, 97 children die before their fifth birthday and 327 women die per 100,000 live births as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

The Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health plan (RMNCH) and the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP) were developed by the Reproductive and Child Health sections of the Ministry of Public Health and its partners. The plans aim to achieve a 10 per cent increase in access to essential reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services by people living in the country’s most underserved and underprivileged areas. They will provide a framework to support the implementation of national programmes for a basic package of health services and an essential package of hospital services, strengthening coordination, leveraging and aligning resources and improving maternal and child health services.

“The Ministry of Public Health has in the past few months embarked on an intensive planning process which has brought together key UN agencies and concerned partners at country level, resulting in the development of these plans,” said Dr. Suraya Dalil, the Minister of Public Health. "Significant new resources are needed to scale up known effective interventions if we want to reduce preventable maternal and child death. I am calling on all partners to align their resources and to support these plans, to make the attainment of MDGs 4 & 5 a reality in Afghanistan," she added.

“I am very pleased to reiterate the UN’s support to these plans that complement the UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and strengthen our joint efforts to scale-up action on maternal, newborn and child survival,” said Karin Hulshof, Regional Director, UNICEF South Asia, speaking on behalf of three UN agencies in Afghanistan. “WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA will work closely within the UN system and with other partners to support the Ministry of Public Health in these efforts,” she added.

For more information:
Ministry of Public Health: Dr. Kaneshka, Public Relation Director, Mobile: 0799159151

UNICEF Afghanistan: Alistair Gretarsson;; +93 (0) 79850 7110
WHO Afghanistan: Dr Paata Chikvaidze; +93 782-200-369
UNFPA Afghanistan: Dr. Mohammad Tahir Ghaznavi;; +93(0)707198949



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