£30 billion for maternal and newborn health assistance

Over 100 nations and organisations have committed nearly $41.4 billion (£28.7 billion) to improving maternal and newborn health across the world.

This includes nearly $11 billion from 44 developing countries such as Bangladesh, Congo, Nepal and Ethiopia, according to a report by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH), which released the figures on Tuesday (September 20th).

Money has been promised from governments, charitable organisations, the UN, the private sector, academic institutions, healthcare groups, foundations and global partnerships.

Furthermore, 100 new commitments were announced at the UN General Assembly, with all donations given as part of the Every Woman, Every Child initiative launched last year by the body's secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

Chair of the PMNCH and dean of the Harvard School of Public Health in the US Dr Julio Frenk commented: "There is now unprecedented global collective action around women's and children's health."

He forecasted that as many as 16 million lives could be saved through the UN's programme by 2015.

The World Health Organisation states that 99 per cent of all maternal deaths each year occur in developing nations, where a woman's life expectancy is just 54 years compared with an average of more than 80 years in more advanced countries.