Burundian First Lady Angeline Ndayishimiye said the health and nutrition of women, newborns, infants and adolescents in Africa remained a concern in Africa.
Ndayishimiye made the remarks in the Burundian commercial capital Bujumbura, at the launch of a three-day high-level forum of women leaders.
The Burundian first lady, thanked foreign delegates that came to support her in the third edition of the high-level forum of women leaders on health and nutrition in Burundi.
They include the First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, the former First Lady of Tanzania, Salma Kikwete, as well as delegates from the First Ladies of Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan and Nigeria.
Ndayishimiye who is also chairperson of the Office of the First Lady for Development in Burundi (OPDD-Burundi) said currently in Africa, maternal, neonatal and child deaths are still high beyond targets set by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This situation is costly,” she said.
She indicated that her organisation (OPDD-Burundi) will spare no effort to support the Burundian government to address health and nutrition of women and children in the country.
She took the opportunity to invite her fellow first ladies of African countries “to act in the same direction”.
On his part, Mohamed Fall theUNICEFRegional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, pointed out that the forum is held in Bujumbura at a time when the health care and nutrition systems in the region are facing great challenges.
"These include vaccination coverage against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough in children under five, which declined between 2019 and 2021, leaving many children without any protection against preventable diseases.
Damien Mama, the United Nations resident coordinator in Burundi, congratulated Burundi for the progress already made in terms of improving the health of women and newborns.
He explained that Burundi has reduced maternal mortality from 500 to 334 per 100,000 live births as well as infant mortality from 59 to 47 per 1000 live births.
While officially launching the forum, Burundian Vice-President Prosper Bazombanza highly commended the forum aimed at improving the health and nutrition of the population