Parliamentarians commit to health of women, children and adolescents
Kathmandu: Parliamentarians of the WHO South-East Asia Region have committed to health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents adopting a ‘call to action’ at the end of the two-day ‘South-Asia Regional Parliamentarians’ Meeting organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 26 – 27 July in New Delhi, India.
Over 30 lawmakers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste committed to contribute towards increasing national budgets for health services; ensuring access to and financial protection for quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services within the provision of universal health coverage; and deploying skilled workforce, especially in rural areas.
“The health of women, children and adolescents is critical to sustainable development –economic as well as social development. This population should be at the center of our efforts to achieve universal health coverage – with quality health care provided to everyone, everywhere,” said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia. The parliamentarians also agreed to work towards introducing or amending and implementing laws to protect rights of women, children and adolescents, including preventing child marriage.
Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality rates declined by 69%, deaths in children less than five years of age reduced by 67 % and newborn deaths rates declined by 57% in the region. Despite this impressive figure, there is much to be done, as everyday nearly 170 women and girls die in the Region from preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth. Nearly 3500 children die every day, mostly due to pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria, with malnutrition underlying 45% deaths.
The meeting was attended by senior officials from Ministries of Health, representatives of UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank, and Asian Forum and Indian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.