Just days before the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) summit, Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s International Development Secretary, announced a change in direction, putting women and children at the centre of its aid policy. This shift will double the number of female and newborn lives saved by 2015, Mitchell will tell the assembled heads of state in New York on 20-22 September.

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Campaigners for increased health financing welcome the commitment by African Union member states to direct more resources to health. But the needs of the continent seem to dwarf available budgets.

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Activists are pulling out all the stops ahead of a development summit at UN headquarters on 20-22 September. Pro-aid and anti-poverty lobbyists are trying everything from giant letters to banging pans to raise awareness of the high-level event.

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Over $32 billion is needed for Africa to reduce maternal deaths and deaths of children under five.

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Members of the African Union (AU) reaffirmed at the end of their meeting on 27 July in Kampala, Uganda, that they would strive to spend 15 percent of their national budgets on health, but at the end of the day it is about how "effectively and efficiently" you spend the money, not about how much.

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African heads of state yesterday adopted eight new resolutions on addressing maternal and child deaths across the continent including renewing an earlier commitment made in Abuja in 2001.

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Save the Children commends African heads of state for pledging at the African Union summit to take concrete actions to reduce maternal and child mortality in their countries.  Now they must follow through, the international humanitarian agency said.

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African leaders have pledged to eliminate maternal and child mortality before 2015.

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Bonolo Cebe, 18, of South Africa is one of the three young delegates selected by their peers to present a call to action to leaders at the 15th session of the Assembly of African Union Summit this Sunday, 25 July. Over 100 young people from 40 countries drafted the message earlier this week in Uganda, at the first-ever African Youth Forum, or AYF.

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Maternal and child deaths are killing more people across the continent than conflicts, the African Union revealed yesterday. More than 500,000 women a year die in childbirth across the globe, almost exclusively in developing countries in Africa. Another 12,000 children die on the continent every day, mainly from treatable conditions like malaria, pneumonia and respiratory tract infections.

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