Maternal, child health key to equity - Ramaphosa

2014-06-30 13:14
Cyril Ramaphosa (Picture: Sapa)

Cyril Ramaphosa (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The health of mothers and their children is key to achieving development and equity, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said in Johannesburg on Monday.

"The work that is done through this partnership is... key to all our future plans and programmes, because our efforts have meaning only if those who are born today do survive to achieve their full human potential," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

He was speaking at the opening of the World Health Organisation's Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Forum, of which former first lady Gra?a Machel is chairperson.

"This meeting comes at a critical time as you have heard, we have less than 500 days before the deadline for the achievement of the millennium development goals," Ramaphosa said.

These goals include eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, improvement of maternal health and reduction of child mortality, and the achievement of universal primary education. UN member states committed to achieve these by 2015.

Ramaphosa quoted from a report by the Commission on Social Determinants of Health on the link between illness and inequality.

"In countries at all levels of income, health and illness follow a social gradient - the lower the socio-economic position, the worse the health."

Ramaphosa said in such an inequitable world, health equity was not a problem only in developing countries.

"While we acknowledge this, we know that our continent, Africa, has had to contend with a disproportionate burden of disease due to the HIV pandemic and other communicable diseases that continue to impact our people."


Governments needed to ensure that policies reflected the link between health and development. They needed to provide the best care for women and their newborn babies.

"We must also ensure that children receive appropriate support, stimulation and nutrition.

"We must empower young people to attain their full human potential, while we secure workplaces that contribute to economic development, and where adults are able to contribute to the well-being of their families and society."

The elderly needed to be loved, supported and respected, Ramaphosa said.

The National Development Plan would help achieve health equity.

The achievement of quality health care needed to remain a priority after the 2015 deadline for the millennium development goals, Ramaphosa said.

Universal health coverage and measures to address non-communicable diseases should also be included in the post-2015 agenda, he said.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  government spending

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