Dar es Salaam. The Aga Khan University (AKU), Medical College in collaboration with the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) and the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) on Thursday, December 6, 2018 organized a two day Symposium in the city with the title ‘Women’s Health in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda.’
The symposium brought together participants from the academia, the government, civil society and Non-Governmental Organizations as well as from the private sector, to reflect on women's health issues and to explore existing challenges in understanding gender and ethnic disparities in health in the East African Region.
Participants also proposed innovative solutions to contribute to improvements in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in the EAC region.
The Assistant Director of Reproductive and Child Health Services Programme in the ministry of Health, Dr Ahmad Makuwani, officiated the opening of the symposium on behalf of Health Permanent Secretary Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya.
"It is high time for all relevant ministries in the region and health stakeholders to closely work together and contribute in combating maternal deaths in the region, " Dr Makuwani said when he addressed the participants.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, approximately 830 women die daily due to complications related to pregnancy and delivery.
However by 2030 as part of the SGDs, the target is to reduce the maternal mortality to 70 women per 100, 000.
Meanwhile, Dr Makuwani used the opportunity to commend the Aga Khan University for its contribution in producing high skilled healthcare attendants including doctors and nurses who play a key role in transforming country's health sector.
"The government recognizes the contribution of Aga Khan University in generating skilled healthcare attendants in the country," he said.
East Africa director of the Centre of Excellence in Women, Child and Adolescent Health, Prof Marleen Temmerman advised the EAC member states to, adequately, invest in family planning interventions, citing that birth control was the key driver to combat maternal mortality in the region.
"Interventions like family planning have proved to work perfectly in Europe and other developed countries in reducing maternal deaths," Prof Temmerman said when she spoke to The Citizen on the sidelines of the symposium.
Prof Temmerman added that the global health financing wasn’t enough to address all existing challenges facing the sector, and so governments ought to increase their national health budget allocations to facilitate implementation of various health programmes designed to combat health burdens in the region.