Thursday, June 25, 2009

Human Rights Council Resolution on Maternal Health

The Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO) celebrates the recent adoption of a ground-breaking resolution on maternal mortality and morbidity by the Human Rights Council on June 17, 2009.

The resolution on "Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights" recognizes that a human rights perspective is essential to international and national responses to maternal mortality and morbidity.

In this resolution, governments expressed grave concern for the unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity, acknowledge that this is a human rights issue, and commit to enhance their efforts at the national and international level to protect the lives of women and girls worldwide. It is a critical breakthrough that UN member states have acknowledged the need to address maternal health as a human rights issue.

Through the Human Rights Council resolution, governments recognize that the elimination of maternal mortality and morbidity requires the effective promotion and protection of women and girls’ human rights, including their rights to life; to be equal in dignity; to education; to be free to seek, receive, and impart information; to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress; to freedom from discrimination; and to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including sexual and reproductive health.

Hear what Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, Regional Director, PPD ARO, had to say about maternal health at a recent United States Congressional briefing on 5 June 2009, sponsored by the Association of Population Centers, Population Action International, Population Association of America, Population Council, Population Reference Bureau, Population Resource Center, and UCLA Bixby Center on Population and Reproductive Health.

In his presentation, Dr. Musinguzi pointed out the effects of maternal mortality—-the lost lives, rights, and productivty—-and the range of effective, low-cost strategies to improve the health of mothers and children. "What is the message?" Muzinguzi asked in conclusion. "No woman should lose her life while giving life."

Yet, every year, 265,000 mothers die in childbirth from preventable causes in sub-Saharan Africa.

The PPD ARO calls on United Nations member states as they implement the Human Rights Council Resolution on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights to ensure that the thematic study be fully funded and its recommendations implemented in all African countries.

The full resolution is available at:

A U.N. press release is online at:

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