The Government of Guyana, in collaboration with the United Nations on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 launched the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) Action Plan at Herdmanston Lodge.
The Action Plan is developed from the application of the MAF to the Guyanese context, and will lead all interventions and discussion in the area of maternal health; it will serve to harmonize multi-sectoral responses in this field (including that of development partners) in creating the environment to more effectively leverage resources for achieving the initial outcomes. The MAF Action Plan is also placed in the context of the National Health Strategy -Health Vision 2020, which sets out the priorities for Guyana's health sector over the period 2013-2020.
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Khadija Musa in her remarks noted that "...the Government of Guyana is among the list of countries that have shown demonstrated leadership in this issue and worked on a MDG Accelerated Framework document aimed at highlighting both challenges and pragmatic solutions to accelerate progress on lagging MDGs, and to reduce disparities in progress to date."
In evaluating Guyana's progress towards MDGs, the Government of Guyana identified MDG 5 – improve maternal health – as the goal that needed prioritization if its associated targets are to be achieved by 2015, and thus a higher standard of maternal health care is to be established and sustained in the long run. Although there has been progress towards achievement of the goal of MDG 5, significant challenges remain. In order to mitigate or overcome these obstacles, a wide range of solutions was selected to introduce and sustain improved standards of care in the maternal health sector.
Ms. Musa highlighted the economic benefit of improving maternal health. She noted that "...improving maternal health reinforces national productivity, economic outcomes, and the achievement of other MDGs (child mortality, poverty and hunger, gender equality, and education) as the evidence gathered over the years suggest."
The aims of the MAF Action Plan are (1) to present a framework to guide the implementation of interventions for accelerating progress toward maternal health so that development partners' efforts can be both aligned to, and complement central government action; and (2) to use the MAF Action Plan as a tool for resource mobilization by the Government of Guyana, in order to fill identified financing gaps. The latter activity will occur with the support of relevant development partners.
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
General Evaluation Criteria
- The nominee will be an organisation (governmental or non-governmental), public or private entity, individual or other group based in Guyana, or working in Guyana on MDG related developmental areas
- The nominee should not be directly employed by the United Nations
- The nominee must have achieved high levels of performance in the specific category
- The nominee must have maintained highest ethical standards
- The nominee must have achieved outstanding accomplishments during both the past year and previous years, in pursuit of the achievement of the specific MDG
- The nominee must have succeeded in bringing to public notice significant issues related to the identified MDG
- In keeping with the overall thrust of the MDGs, achievements must be sustainable and serve as an inspiration to all Guyanese
- Nominations must be submitted on the Application Form which can be downloaded from this link.
The United Nations Country Team in Guyana invites nominations for the UN MDG Champions Awards.
These awards will honour and celebrate exemplary efforts by national governments and civil society stakeholders (including private corporations) in contributing towards the achievement of all eight MDGs. Additionally, two awards will be given for youth empowerment and the media.
The Awards will be presented on United Nations Day – October 24, 2014.
On Monday, May 12, 2014, a project aimed at supporting the Government of Guyana through South-South policy dialogue on policy options for reducing poverty, supporting cottage and linkage industries in selected rural communities and identifying and enhancing alternative coping strategies for the poor was signed during a simple ceremony at the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Boardroom.