CSOs message to the 15th Ordinary AU Summit in Kampala, Uganda

No woman should die while giving life:  Despite the political commitments made by African leaders at the AU summit in Sharm el Sheikh on water and sanitation, Africa continues to lose hundreds of women and newborns everyday due to poor health systems including access to clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene.

 In her presentation on revisiting the Sharm el sheikh Commitments, Jamillah Mwanjisi, Executive Secretary of African Civil Society Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW) said that while there has been an increase in momentum and new initiatives to accelerate the achievement of MDG targets, poor access to improved sanitation and hygiene continue to undermine the achievement of all the other MDG targets particularly targets on maternal, newborn and child health in Africa.

 Jamillah,who was presenting at civil society meeting organized by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the AU noted that 18 % of child deaths in Africa are caused by diarrhoea and nine out of ten cases of diarrhoea could be prevented by access to sanitation and water. Despite this,only four in ten Africans have access to a safe toilet, and only six in ten to safe water.

 Themeeting which brought about 75 civil society organizations in the continent was organized in the wake of the AU summit to discuss Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in African –the theme for this year’s AUHead of States and Governments Summit.

 Jamillah said for Africa to make sustainable progress in curbing maternal and child mortality it is important to ensure the health and well being of women and children is prioritized at the national level and commitments are met.  

 “It is important for African governments to recognise the correlation between lack of clean water and improved sanitation to maternal, newborn and child health,’she said

Recent studies indicate that Africa continue to lose an average of 800 women daily due to pregnancy and child birth-related complications and 13,000 newborns every day -a situation that undermines the achievement of the other MDG targets thus slowing development progress on the continent.

 In their statement to the AU Summit the CSO urged African governments to Integrate previous commitments on water, sanitation and hygiene(WASH)  with maternal and child health, and ensure that  they are prioritized and adequately resourced at national level.

In addition, CSO highlighted the need to strengthen systems and accountability mechanisms to support citizens' participation, leading to improved governance in WASH and maternal and child health.

 Please Find the attached CSO Statement and press release for use in your local media.

 For more information please contact ANEW

Read the  CSOs declaration

Updated on 22 July 2010

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