S Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has asked countries to channel more resources towards reduction of maternal and child mortality rate.
She made the call in Washington DC during the opening of the child survival, call to action: A promise renewed conference.
The immediate reaction from Malawi Health equity Network Martha Kwataine who is among the delegates at the conference said Malawi budget allocation to the health ministry was a contradiction to Clinton’s call.
Clinton said though there was progress in some countries in reducing maternal and child mortality, there was need to do more by among other things, channel¬ling more resources towards the commitment of ensuring that every child should be able to celebrate fifth birthday.
“I know there are some countries that are making progress in reducing maternal and child mortality, but progress is not success,” she said.
Clinton appealed to countries to make a commitment to reduce child mortality to less than 20 lives per 1000 live births.
“Saving children’s life cannot be the responsibility of government alone but also other partners such as civil society organizations and faith leaders,” she said.
She encouraged mothers to breast¬feed their children and immunize them.
“We thank Unicef for the constant re¬minder of taking care of children,” Clinton said.
On her take, Kwataine said this year’s allocation to the health ministry might be a threat to the achievement of goal number 4 and 5 of the Millennium Development Goals.
The two goals are aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality.
“Malawi has indeed made progress in reduction of child mortality, but that is not success, we should channel more resources to the ministry of health to ensure that children survive the first five years of their lives.
“As a nation, we should not become complacent simply because we are making progress or else we risk eroding the gains we have made. This is time to keep the momentum,” she said.
Kwataine said it’s sad that budget estimates that were presented in parliament show that the Ministry of Health, District Health Offices and National Aids Commission allocation constitutes 11.9 percent, less than 15 percent of the national budget, the Abuja declaration target.
“If we deduct allocation for National AIDS Commission, the allocation to Ministry of Health is approximately seven percent of the national budget. This is a mockery considering that the Department of HIV and AIDS in Office of the President Cabinet has been left out from the budget. What then will become of the interventions that were being implanted by this department,” she explained.
Malawi is however one of the countries expected to meet goal number four of the MDG.
Institutions that are representing Ma¬awi at the meeting are Kamuzu College of Nursing, MEHN and Ministry of health with financial support from UNICEF and USAID .