ZAMBIA’S Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mwaba Kasese-Bota has called for increased allocation of resources to maternal and child health services to save lives of expectant mothers and infants.
Dr Kasese-Bota, who is a medical doctor, said provision of sexual and reproductive health services were cardinal to reduce maternal and infant mortality in Africa.
She was speaking here during a panel discussion organised by the Global Leaders Council and the International Women’s Health Coalition.
The discussion was under the theme: ‘Women and Reproductive Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Supporting the Role of African Leadership.’
“Despite all these challenges, Zambia has made tremendous progress to put in place systems, to reduce maternal mortality. We have managed to reduce, significantly, the maternal mortality ratios as well as infant and under-five children’s mortality rates,” she said.
The discussion was among a series of side events being held as a prelude to the 68th United Nations General Assembly scheduled for next week.
Dr Kasese-Bota said Zambia had placed the highest political will and attention to issues of reproductive health as evidenced by the decentralisation of the line ministries dealing with maternal and child health.
“The decentralisation of the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health galvanized the Zambian Government’s response to provide holistic services transcending the wellness of all women and children through multi-disciplinary service provision in the same ministry,” she added.
Dr Kasese-Bota said the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were an important platform for attaining development but there was need to accelerate the efforts and ensure convergence with the post 2015 development agenda.
On the post-2015 development agenda, she said sustainable development should encompass the environment, social economic indicators, and economic growth at family level, and include diversion where there is need for change of behaviour and practice.
UN women executive director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is former South African deputy president, called for economic empowerment of women.
Joy Phumaphi, a one-time minister of Health of Botswana and vice-president of World Bank – who is currently heading the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) and a member of the Global Leaders Council – called for protection of women and girls.
Meanwhile, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has urged Government worldwide to do more in ensuring that every boy and girl gets quality education.
Mr Ban said every boy and girl deserved to receive quality education and learn values that would help them grow up to be global citizens in tolerant communities that respect diversity.
The UN Secretary General was speaking here yesterday during the commemoration of the International Day of Peace at which he symbolically rings the Peace Bell to echo the school bells around the world.