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Maternal mortality rates in Africa are not being reduced quickly enough; concrete actions must therefore be taken at the regional level.
The African Union has decided to focus on maternal health in Africa during the upcoming Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government (AU Assembly), to be held in Kampala from 25 to 27 July 2010.
Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity campaign on poverty and human rights includes a focus on the human rights violations that often underlie maternal mortality. The majority of women who die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth are amongst the poorest and most marginalised women. In most cases maternal deaths could be prevented.
The African Union (AU) has implemented several policies, initiatives and plans of action in which AU member States made commitments to tackle maternal mortality in Africa. These commitments have the potential of realising the rights of women and girls enshrined in international and regional instruments, including in the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.
However, there are gaps which continue to exist in the realisation of these commitments. During the upcoming session, maternal mortality must be tackled effectively at the AU level to ensure that commitments made by Member States become a reality and that maternal mortality rates throughout Africa decrease significantly.