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Al Jazeera America Examines Congo’s Improvements In Maternal Health

Al Jazeera America examines maternal health in the Republic of the Congo, noting the country has made significant progress in reducing maternal mortality, especially in the last two years. “David Lawson, the country director for UNFPA, a partner in the maternal health projects, says that if progress continues at the same rate, Congo might, in fact, meet the [maternal health] Millennium Development Goal on schedule, in 2015,” the news service writes. “The government is actually putting the resources and actions where they’re supposed to be. … I have no doubt that the situation will continue to improve,” Lawson said, according to Al Jazeera. “Doctors and public health experts here give much of the credit for that progress to a presidential decree that put [caesarean] birth in reach of even the poorest women: Since 2011, caesarean sections, which had cost upwards of $500, have been a free public health service,” Al Jazeera reports. “The maternal health revolution in Brazzaville is about more than caesareans,” the news service writes, adding, “It’s also about demographics — more than half of the country’s 4.5 million people live in its two biggest cities — and about basic health infrastructure.” The news service notes, “To be sure, there’s more to be done for expectant mothers here,” such as “[i]mproving access to — and the acceptability of — family planning” (Moore, 9/18).