Opinion: Maternal Mortality in Africa, U.S. Africa Policy
Political Will Required To Reduce Maternal Mortality in Africa
In West Africa, "motherhood" is one of the "grimmest risks to human life," columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times. "It's no mystery how to save the lives of pregnant women; what's lacking is the will and resources," he writes. Although the Newborn, Child, and Mother Survival Act aimed at establishing "American leadership in this area" was introduced in Congress in March, "it has attracted pathetically little attention," Kristof writes, who concludes that his experiences during his current trip in Africa "are reminders that women can be saved in childbirth but only if their lives become a priority" (Kristof, New York Times, 5/16).
Good Opportunity For U.S. To Support African Development
In the coming months, Obama will have to address some of the biggest problems facing Africa, including the conflicts in Darfur, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as "the long-standing issues," such as "food security, corruption, access to clean water and basic health care, and the looming threat of climate change," writes Hany Besada a senior researcher and program leader at the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and Erica Dybenko, a research information officer at CIGI in a Jerusalem Post opinion piece.
It is "unhelpful to speculate as to whether Obama will match [former President George W.] Bush's achievements in Africa and meet the enormous expectations of Africans over the coming period," according to Besada and Dybenko. "What is certain, however, is that Africa is too important to be ignored," they write, concluding, "There is no better time than the present for the U.S. to assure Africa of its full commitment to playing a more active and constructive role in the continent's rapid transformation and development" (Besada/Dybenko, Jerusalem Post, 5/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.