African maternal and newborn health 'improving'

Maternal and newborn health is, on average, improving across the whole continent of Africa, an expert has said.

Gifty Addico, a South Africa-based adviser for the UN Population Fund, was speaking after new figures in a UN report, entitled Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010, revealed that maternal mortality has declined by 41 per cent in the past decade in sub-Saharan Africa.

"More mothers and their babies are staying alive after birth and this is a very good sign, but we need to do more to make sure that every mother lives to see her child," Ms Addico told Africa Renewal.

There are hopes that this trend will continue with the 2010 launch of UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's awareness campaign Every Woman, Every Child.

The scheme hopes to save the lives of 16 million women and infants by 2016 and help Africa meet its Millennium Development Goals in the process.

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