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According to the UN News Service, the United Nations has joined forces with the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in order to promote universal access to reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on young mothers.
This partnership between the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and MVP will make use of the Project’s “primary health-care provision strategy and the UN agency’s expertise to promote reproductive rights and sexual and reproductive health.”
The MVP initiative wants to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which consist of eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, within a period of five years through community development.
There is an extremely high infant mortality rate, almost double in fact, among women who have babies before the age of 20, in comparison to mothers in other age groups. It is obvious that there is a strong need to improve maternal care and the health of children. Volunteer family planning, the providing of medical supplies, and educating younger women are some of the ways to improve mother and infant care.
The UNFPA-MVP partnership will assist local governments in getting supplies to hospitals and clinics in Millennium Village clusters. There will be trainers for health providers.
“We look forward to joining forces with the Millennium Villages Project to widen the availability of sexual and reproductive health services - including family planning, skilled birth attendance, emergency obstetric care and prenatal and postnatal care - across sub-Saharan Africa,” stated UNFPA’s Executive Director, Thoraya Ahmed Obaid.
Obaid went on to say, “This partnership will go a long way in saving the lives of more mothers, and allowing more families to enjoy a life of prosperity and good health.”
The Director of the Earth Institute, Jeffrey Sachs, said that improving primary health systems in rural and remote areas will definitely reduce infant and maternal mortality.
Sachs said that a partnership like this is very important when it comes to achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals in “the toughest parts of Africa.”