By Chioma Obinna

A new report published by the African Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Medical Sciences has discovered ways to improve maternal, neonatal and child (MNCH) care in Africa.

The report which also listed the four grand challenges that need to be addressed for better MNCH care on the continent, also offered research discovery and implementation in response to reducing maternal and newborn deaths through better care during pregnancy, better care at birth, better hospital care of sick newborns, and better postnatal care for women and their newborns

It is estimated that in 2015 there were almost 6 million deaths of children under the age of five and over 300 thousand maternal deaths globally.?Almost half of the child deaths globally (2.6 million) are in the neonatal period, and an equal number of babies die as stillbirths in the last 12 weeks of pregnancy. The Sub-Saharan region with only 13 percent of the world’s population had the majority of maternal deaths worldwide (66 percent), and more than half of under-5 deaths.?If current trajectories continue, more than half of the sub-Saharan countries will not meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set targets for the reduction of maternal, newborn and child deaths by 2030.

The report tagged: “From minding the gap to closing the gap: Science to transform maternal and newborn survival and stillbirths in sub-Saharan Africa in the Sustainable Development Goals era, is a product of a policy workshop on maternal and newborn survival and stillbirths in Africa held last year in Nairobi, Kenya.

The workshop co-organised by the Academy of Medical Sciences and the African Academy of Sciences and was part of a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) policy work.  The report was a product of approximately 65 scientists, clinicians, policymakers and funders from 15 countries across Africa.  The priorities will inform future funding opportunities for MNCH in Africa.

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