Your chance to give input on UK development policies on maternal health and malaria

When the new government came into power earlier this year, DFID Ministers made it clear from the outset that improving maternal health and tackling malaria were two of their top priorities. It comes as no surprise then that the first two public consultations announced by DFID since the election have been launched to gather input for new ‘business plans’ (they are no longer called strategies) on these two issues.

When developing or updating policies, DFID is keen to consult with a wide range of interested groups, both in the UK and particularly from the developing countries that DFID is working in. No matter what your background, experience or level of expertise, you have an opportunity to give input on the development of policies that could affect millions of lives.

Read on to find more information about how you can participate in the recently announced public consultations on maternal health and malaria.

Consultation 1) Choice for women: wanted pregnancies, safe births.

DFID are working to ensure every pregnancy in the developing world is wanted and every birth is safe. They want your ideas on how they can do this better and what they should focus on first.

Millennium Development Goal 5 is the most off-track of the MDGs. Every year more than a third of a million women die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth – the vast majority in developing countries. This means at least one woman dies every 90 seconds. For every woman who dies another 20 women suffer from chronic ill-health or disability.

All of this reduces the chances of a newborn baby surviving. More than 3.5 million babies die each year within their first month of life – up to 45% of these deaths are in the first 24 hours. Preventing unintended pregnancies and ensuring pregnancy and childbirth is safe for all women and babies will make a vital contribution to reducing child mortality (MDG 4).

If you would like to share your thoughts on how DFID should develop its maternal health business plan, you can participate in a short survey. If you are a development practitioner and are interested in providing more in-depth feedback, you can make a more detailed submission. The closing date is 20 October 2010.

For more information about this consultation and about DFID’s work on maternal health visit http://consultation.dfid.gov.uk/maternalhealth2010/.

Consultation 2) Malaria: Breaking the cycle

Help the UK Government business shape its strategy for malaria prevention in the developing world. The UK government aims to launch a new business plan for their work on malaria in line with Millennium Development Goal 6.

Half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. Malaria disproportionately affects the poor, children, pregnant women and places an immense burden on health systems. Addressing the issue will not only reduce malaria mortality and morbidity, it will also have a positive impact on health systems, on reducing the burden of other diseases, improving services for poor people and ultimately will improve the economic growth prospects of affected countries.

We know what works to prevent and treat malaria and these interventions have proven to be highly cost-effective. But far too few people have access to these proven interventions, and weak health systems contribute to this failure.

If you would like to share your thoughts on how DFID should develop its malaria business plan, you can participate in a short survey. If you are a development practitioner and are interested in providing more in-depth feedback, you can make a more detailed submission. The closing date is 26 October 2010.

For more information about this consultation and about DFID’s work on malaria visit http://consultation.dfid.gov.uk/malaria2010/.

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