In an effort to fulfil its international obligations to Millennium Development Goal 5- Improve Maternal Health, Guyana, with help from UN agencies, launched its MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) at the Herdmanston Lodge, Queenstown."The framework is a synthesising of a policy approach to an extremely important issue. The MAF represents the latest manifestation of our Government's strong and unswerving commitment to the achievement of the MDGs," Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh said as he spoke on the need for key investments to be made for achieving MDGs.
"We remain convinced that the MDGs provide a structural framework of development goals and a structured framework within which the major development challenges, as they relate to the quality of life, are conceived."
To this end, the Finance Minister urged that Guyana has "invested significantly in our national budgets over the years in our social sector. In fact, the social sector has seen, over the years, an investment averaging 20% of our national budget."
Recognising that Guyana's launch of the MAF falls on the 66th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Chief Medical Officer of the Health Ministry, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, noted that while some things have been achieved, "more needs to be done."
Persaud mentioned that in 2001, when Guyana's Third MDG Report was released, "several areas of strengths and weaknesses were identified and one of the areas clearly where there were doubts as to whether we can achieve this goal was in maternal health."
Following this revelation, Persaud said, a number of efforts were made to address the weaknesses which now are targeted in the current Maternal Health Acceleration Framework (MAF)
The document was produced with wide consultations in 2013 among the Ministry, maternal patients, medical practitioners, medical assistants, civil society and religions organisations and the Private Sector in regions across Guyana, according to the Health Ministry's Director for Maternal and Child Health, Dr. Janice Woolford.
"A validation workshop, including stakeholders from government agencies, the private sector, civil society and development partners was carried out in March 2013, and the main objectives were to validate the interventions both ongoing and planned that were aimed at improving the quality of maternal health care for women in Guyana," Dr.Woolford further explained.
Recognising immediate successes of those interventions, the Maternal Health Director said, "We have seen a reduction in our maternal deaths in 2013 and 2014, and we know that the MAF document will further impact positive efforts to improve maternal health in Guyana."
While Guyana's maternal mortality rate remains significantly high, UN Resident Coordinator Khadijah Musa commended the Guyana Government for its efforts in alleviating the situation. "Guyana is among the list of countries that has shown or demonstrated leadership in this issue and worked to honour the MDG acceleration framework document aimed at highlighting both challenges and pragmatic solutions on how to progress on lagging MDGs and to reduce disparities in progress to date."
At a time when the world observes not only the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also the end of 16 days of global mobilisation led by the UN Secretary general, Ban Ki Moon and UN Women to end violence against women,
Musa said that the observances remind us that "improving maternal health is not only a moral imperative; it is a smart economic choice. In fact, improving maternal health reinforces national productivity, economic outcome and the achievement of other MDGs."
Evidence over the years suggest at the global level data that despite a drop of 45 percent of the maternal mortality ratio between 1990 and 2013, from 380 to 210 deaths per 100,000 live births, there is still more to be done to reduce maternal mortality three-quarters by 2015.
Guyana's attainment of the MDG has been substantial, Musa added. While Guyana has achieved many of its millennium development goals, "we believe that urgent collective actions are required to improve maternal health."
Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsarran, addressing the gathering, noted that some 85 percent of births in Guyana are conducted by professional trained personnel. He recognised this as a commitment of the Government.
Source: Guyana Chronicle