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Africa: Maternal Mortality

Volume 477: debated on Friday 20 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to reduce maternal mortality rates in Africa. (211824)

Reducing maternal mortality in Africa is a UK Government priority. The Department for International Development (DFID) will continue to support partner governments to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services and commodities through DFID-funded country programmes, through regional and global advocacy, and through funding global and regional research, in line with the African Union Maputo Plan of Action on Maternal health and the DFID strategy ‘Reducing maternal deaths: evidence and action’.

Better health systems and services are essential to reducing maternal mortality. DFID will spend £6 billion by 2015 for these purposes, a significant proportion in Africa.

DFID has committed £100 million over five years to United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to improve access to family planning and reproductive health supplies. Africa will be a major recipient. At a country level in Africa, DFID is currently funding a range of health programmes that will help reduce maternal mortality, including a £100 million commitment in Malawi (over six years) £140 million commitment in Nigeria (over six years), a £24 million commitment in Zimbabwe (over four years), and £50 million commitment in Sierra Leone (over 10 years). Substantial funding is also provided through general budget support in some countries, as in Tanzania, where 11 per cent. of DFID's £105 million expenditure through this channel was used to finance the health sector.