Dispatch

15 October 2012

UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities Opens in Abuja

ABUJA, Nigeria -- A meeting of the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children opened here today to discuss good practices to increase access to life-saving commodities and review draft implementation plans. The Commission advocates at the highest levels for the increased availability, affordability and accessibility of essential but underutilized commodities for maternal and child health.

UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, co-Vice Chair of the Commission, thanked Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for organizing the meeting and for leading the way, together with the government of Norway, to foster the implementation of the recommendations made public last September during the UN General Assembly, in New York.

“Family planning alone can reduce one third of maternal deaths. Together with low-cost medicines, most maternal deaths could be averted,” Dr. Osotimehin said during the opening of an international conference hosted by the government of Nigeria to discuss the recommendations of the UN Commission on Life Saving Commodities for Women and Children.

“We will be taking the first set of concrete steps towards making these recommendations a reality,” added the Nigerian Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate. “Over the next days, we will discuss ways to increase access to life-saving commodities,” he added.

According to experts, six million lives of women and children could be saved by just focusing on low-cost but high-impact medicines and family planning supplies.

It is expected that in the coming days, country technical teams and delegates will work together to discuss issues and challenges in providing access to under-utilized commodities and develop milestones and targets for effective country and global level monitoring.

The Commission advocates at the highest levels for the increased availability, affordability and accessibility of essential but underutilized commodities for maternal and child health.