By Martha Nakimuli
Parliaments should seek partnerships and sustain the push to contain emerging challenges and demands facing Maternal and Child Health, legislators at the Pan African Parliament (PAP) Women’s Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa have asserted.
In addition, legislators at the Conference on the Role of Parliamentarians in Promoting Maternal, New-Born and Child Health organized by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) held on October 4-5, 2012 contend that it is paramount for them to review legislation on Child Marriage and support the ‘Urgent African Campaign’ to stop the practice forthwith. The move shall help contribute to realization of the important agenda of MDG 4 and 5 on Maternal and Child Health in the continent.
While addressing the conference, Rt. Hon Margaret Nantongo Zziwa, Speaker of EALA, pledged her Assembly’s support to the cause of ensuring better standards of living through enhanced oversight roles as well as in holding governments in the region accountable.
The Speaker further remarked that the Assembly would engage the legislative processes by bringing relevant Bills, Motions and Resolutions to the floor of the House. She noted that EALA had opened its doors for stakeholder collaboration but at the same time called for more efforts towards mobilizing populations in order to fully access existing initiatives.
“EALA has been working in collaboration with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) after the passing of the UN Resolution at the last IPU meeting in the pursuit of access to health as a basic right and in tandem with Parliaments’ roles in addressing key challenges in securing women and children’s health. We are in the process of improving Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) and we are working with the national Parliaments to fill the data gaps and to ensure more accountability,” the Rt. Hon Speaker added.
The Speaker however decried the challenges facing progress, saying access to information continued to be a challenge. “We have to admit that we sometimes fall with regards to our promised targets and we have to think about, understand and answer the questions with regard to improving maternal health and reducing child mortality”, she noted.
The conference was attended by Parliamentarians from the continent, representatives of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the UN agencies and government officials among others. Papers on the status of implementation of MDGs 4 and 5 on Mother Child Health and militating factors were made by the UNFPA, UNICEF and UNAIDS representatives.