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Media Examine Women Deliver Conference

New outlets continued to report on the Women Deliver conference, which wrapped up last week.

As the conference closed, Women Deliver President Jill Sheffield said advocates would address the economic dimensions of maternal mortality, the BBC reports. “Finance ministers are on our list – and they’re not going to stay safe,” she said. “They don’t always see this as a critical issue. Our economic arguments for investing in women’s health are pretty dramatic.”

In response to discussions about creating a global fund for maternal and child health, Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, “insisted his organisation was [the] best placed to continue tackling the problems which led to mothers dying,” according to the BBC. “It’s very clear from recent analysis that the slow progress on MDG5 has been because of AIDS. And at least one in five deaths at the time of childbirth is directly linked to HIV,” he said. “So when countries come to us requesting money, we want to see plans which take an integrated approach to these problems. And we want to see a strong emphasis on maternal and child health.” Kazatchkine also said the Global Fund is “ready to do more. If additional resources were to come – for example, from pledges at the G8 – we’d be available to host that funding, because we’re proved ourselves to be a strong mechanism.”

The article also includes quotes from Lancet Editor Richard Horton, who said the conference was “the most significant event for the future of women and children in 20 years” (Dreaper, 6/12). 

IRIN examines a working draft of the new Joint Action Plan for Women’s and Children’s Health, which was unveiled at the conference. The plan “calls on countries to push the health of women and girls to the front of the queue and create an overarching framework for integrated health systems. … [It] offers overarching formulas, like integrating health services, so a woman would not have to go to separate clinics for information on HIV/AIDS and sexual education – as often happens now – and strengthening health systems to better utilize funds,” IRIN writes. The article also looks at some concerns about the plan because areas such as human rights and unsafe abortion were left out (6/13).

The Ghana News Agency reports on a world parliamentarians meeting held at the conference, which explored to need for legislative action to improve the health of women and children and meet the Millennium Development Goal targets (6/11).

Politics Daily’s “Woman Up” blog also examined highlights from the conference, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledge of $1.5 billion over five years for maternal and child health programs (Wildman, 6/12).