2 Sep 2010

Anger that UN conference in Melbourne ignored maternal health issues

4:51 pm on 2 September 2010

The head of Family Planning in New Zealand says she fears women in the Pacific have been failed by a United Nations conference on Global Health this week.

Returning from the largest UN event ever held in Australia, Sumi Subrananiam says she's extremely disappointed the issues of family planning and sexual and reproductive health appear to have been ignored by the conference.

She says improved maternal health is the Millennium Development Goal that's looks least likely to be achieved by 2015.

"It's kind of mysterious because the one comment that is not incorporated in the final outcome document is that around maternal health. Whereas it's well recognised that at least 340 000 women die each year because of pregnancy related causes. There's nine action points that have been given, not a single one of those action points specifically targets maternal health."

Sumi Subrananiam says she is shocked by the omission as several NGOs provided comments and input at the Melbourne meeting and they will now have to work even harder to improve maternal health.

She says she is particularly concerned about high maternal mortality rates in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Kiribati.